Exploding head syndrome
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 their 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. more...
Attacks are also often accompanied by perceived flashes of light or difficulty in breathing.
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 does not, in fact, cause the head to explode.
Symptoms may be resolve spontaneously over time. It may be helpful to reassure the patient that this symptom is harmless. Clomipramine has been used in 3 patients, who experienced immediate relief from this condition (PMID 1896728).
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