Sunday, September 03, 2006

Exploding Head Syndrome

Every so often, I seem to zone out and then startle back to reality with a loud ZAP! that sounds like the crackle of an electrical short circuit or bolt of lightning. It is very disconcerting, and I often shake or jump like I have been shocked. The noise is deafening.

I never mentioned it to a Dr or anyone, as I seemed to have no ill effects. They come regularly but not frequently, about 10-15 times times a year. Sometimes 2 in one week, sometimes none for a long time.

Well, I decided to check and see if I was dying. So I consulted the old Google pages and typed in all sorts things, as it was hard to describe. "Electric shock sound in head". "Hear sounds like lightning or electric shock"... finally I found a blog entry on the "Daily Ping" that described the symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic describes the condition as such:

Exploding head syndrome is a rare condition first reported by a British physician in 1988 (PMID 2899248) that causes the sufferer to occasionally experience a tremendously loud noise as if from within his or her own head, usually described as an explosion or a roar. This usually occurs within an hour or two of falling asleep, but is not the result of a dream. Although perceived as tremendously loud, the noise is usually not accompanied by pain. Attacks appear to increase and decrease in frequency over time, with several attacks occurring in a space of days or weeks followed by months of remission. Sufferers often feel a sense of terror and anxiety after an attack, accompanied by elevated heart rate. Attacks are also often accompanied by perceived flashes of light or difficulty in breathing. The condition is also known as 'auditory sleep starts'. The noise may be accompanied by a perceived bright flash of light, and the light on its own is known as a 'visual sleep start'.

The cause of exploding head syndrome is not known, though some physicians have reported a correlation with stress or extreme fatigue. The condition may develop at any time during life and women are slightly more likely to suffer from it than men. Attacks can be one-time events, or can recur.

The mechanism is also not known, though possibilities have been suggested; one is that it may be the result of a sudden movement of a middle ear component or of the eustachian tube, another is that it may be the result of a form of minor seizure in the temporal lobe where the nerve cells for hearing are located. Electroencephalograms recorded during actual attacks show unusual activity only in some sufferers, and have ruled out epileptic seizures as a cause (PMID 1896728).

Those who claim to be subject to Kundalini events occasionally report similar auditory phenomena.

Whatever the mechanism, however, it appears that exploding head syndrome is a real phenomenon and not caused by psychological disturbances. It is not thought to be medically dangerous, although it is often distressing to experience. Note that EHS doesn't, in fact, cause the head to explode.

Damn, but a cool name. Hey guys! I have exploding head syndrome!!

No comments: