Syndrome of an exploding head is a rare parasomnia, paroxysmal condition. Attacks of this syndrome can occur during sleep, during sleep or on waking.
This condition is characterized by the appearance in the head of loud sounds, like an explosion, noise, shocks.
This parasomnia was first described in 1876 by Silas Weir Mitchell, an American neurologist. And only in 2005 it was included in the International Classification of Sleep Disorders.
In search of the true cause of
Syndrome of an exploding head is poorly understood, but there are various hypotheses regarding the nature of its occurrence. Observation of patients during sleep allowed to formulate a theory that the syndrome is associated with impairments in the work of the brain.
The disorder occurs due to a violation of the natural processes of inhibition and excitation that occur in the networked formation.
Before entering the state of sleep, various parts of the brain are disconnected gradually. At various stages of this process,
Also, explosions and flashes in the head can be caused by the fact that the auditory neurons are activated instead of disabling. This process can lead to sharp and loud auditory hallucinations.
Also in patients with this syndrome, there are delayed reactions in the reticular formation( the area of the brain responsible for the activation of the cerebral cortex and reflexes).This suppresses the alpha waves produced by the brain, which are responsible for falling asleep.
Possible causes of the disorder include:
- small convulsions that affect the temporal lobe of the brain;
- severe abnormalities in the structure of the middle ear;
- stress and increased anxiety;
- sleep deprivation;
- hearing injury;
- abolition of antidepressants( selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors);
- abolition of benzodiazepines;
- chronic fatigue;
- other sleep disorders;
- disorders in the functioning of the nervous system;
- excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs;
- mental disorders;
- chronic pathology of internal organs.
The most susceptible to the occurrence of a woman's disorder.
Features of the clinical picture
During a dream or in the process of falling asleep suddenly there are loud noises, noises, flashes, sounds of an explosion near the head. In some cases, these feelings arise during the awakening period.
Sound hallucinations are not accompanied by pain. The awakening from loud sounds occurs with a sense of fear and is often accompanied by sleepy paralysis.
During an attack, the following signs may manifest:
- sounds of a loud explosion that seems to tear your head, the sound of strings, the sound of a bursting balloon, the sounds of a bell, a shout, a knock, a shot;
- convulsions, muscle twitching;
- panic attack during an attack;
- sensation of bright flashes.
The attack in the syndrome of an exploding head is rather fleeting, and lasts no more than a few seconds. It can occur only once during the night, and several seizures may occur overnight. They can occur every night, once a week or a month, and maybe just one episode of an attack throughout life.
Sensations during an attack can cause a person to think that a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke has occurred.
Diagnosis and differentiation from other disorders
To identify the syndrome of an exploding head, there is often no need for a detailed examination. The diagnosis can be a doctor neurologist or somnologist( specialist in sleep disorders) after a conversation and anamnesis.
With significant sleep disorders, it is possible to carry out such a study as polysomnography. In a polysomnographic study, brain waves, respiratory function and heart rhythms are studied during sleep. Also, during the procedure, various movements of limbs in a dream are recorded.
Polysomnography allows us to identify the connection between the sensation of auditory hallucinations in the head and possible other sleep disorders.
In some cases, the syndrome of an exploding head may be accompanied by headaches. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct differential diagnosis with other syndromes, which are characterized by the presence of a headache.
In case of difficulties in the formulation of an accurate diagnosis, differential diagnostics with epilepsy and organic pathologies of the brain is carried out. To do this, use the following research methods:
- computed tomography;
- magnetic resonance imaging;
- transcranial dopplerography of cerebral vessels;
- ultrasound examination of blood vessels providing blood supply to the brain.
Syndrome of an exploding head is a fairly new phenomenon in medicine and there is no single accepted treatment regimen.
To treat the syndrome, drug therapy can be used. Often the patient is prescribed such drugs:
- homeopathic and herbal preparations;
- tricyclic antidepressants.
In case the syndrome causes other sleep disorders( for example - insomnia), then the administration of calcium antagonists is prescribed. In some cases, calcium channel blockers can lead to a complete cessation of attacks of the syndrome, but the most likely decrease in the frequency of seizures.
In the treatment of this sleep disorder, it is possible to apply methods of physiotherapy: acupuncture, massage, electrosleep.
Prevention of relapse
Recommendations for preventing recurrences of nocturnal explosions in the head are simple enough and are applicable for many sleep disorders:
- Normalize sleep mode .Normally, the duration of sleep should be at least 6-8 hours.
- Reduction of stress and stress level .If it is impossible to exclude these factors from everyday life, it is necessary to master the techniques and methods of combating stress, relaxation. These methods include auto-training and yoga.
- Normalization of the diet .It is not recommended to eat heavy foods before going to bed. Also during this period you should not drink strong tea, coffee, energy drinks, there is sweet, salty or spicy.
- Active way of life and sport .Normalize the sleep will help walk in the fresh air, cycling, fitness, swimming.
- Refuse the bad habits of .The use of alcohol and tobacco smoking negatively affect the quality of sleep.