Hallucinations and illusions in migraine in children and the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Arch Dis Child. 2015 Mar;100(3):296-8. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2013-305283. Epub 2014 Oct 29.


Design: A prospective observational study over 1 year.

Setting: A District General Hospital, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Department.

Patients: Children aged 8-18 years living in the catchment area of a district hospital service with any type of unexplained hallucinations or illusions associated with or without an established diagnosis of migraine.

Results: The study identified nine children with a combination of migraine and a variety of hallucinations and illusions, including illusions of size, time, colour, body shape, movement and visual and auditory hallucination. An average of 10 symptoms (range 7-15) were reported.

Interventions: None.

Main outcome measure: None.

Conclusions: It is important to recognise these symptoms to enable appropriate history taking and diagnosis. These symptoms are common and currently seem to go unrecognised and may pose diagnostic difficulties if onset is before typical migraine headaches occur.

Keywords: hallucinations; migraine.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alice in Wonderland Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Alice in Wonderland Syndrome / psychology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / diagnosis*
  • Hallucinations / psychology
  • Humans
  • Illusions* / psychology
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Migraine Disorders / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires