Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: A real life version of Lewis Carroll's novel

Brain Dev. 2017 Jun;39(6):470-474. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2017.01.004. Epub 2017 Feb 8.


Alice in Wonderland Syndrome was originally coined by Dr. John Todd in 1955. The syndrome is named after the sensations experienced by the character Alice in Lewis Carroll's novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome consists of metamorphopsia (seeing something in a distorted fashion), bizarre distortions of their body image, and bizarre perceptual distortions of form, size, movement or color. Additionally, patients with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome can experience auditory hallucinations and changes in their perception of time. Currently, there is no known specific cause of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. However, theories point to infections such as the Epstein-Barr virus, medications such as topiramate and associated migraines. Neuroimaging studies have revealed brain regions involved with the manifestation of symptoms. These include the temporo-parietal junction within the temporal lobe and the visual pathway, specifically the occipital lobe. There are no current treatments for Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. Further research is needed to find better treatments for Alice in Wonderland Syndrome and to elucidate the exact cause or causes of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

Keywords: Alice in Wonderland Syndrome; Auditory hallucinations; Neuroimaging; Perceptual distortion; Visual hallucinations.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alice in Wonderland Syndrome / complications*
  • Alice in Wonderland Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Alice in Wonderland Syndrome / history
  • Hallucinations / complications*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Illusions / physiology
  • Medicine in Literature*
  • Migraine Disorders / complications*