What is Exploding Head Syndrome?
Exploding Head Syndrome is a rare undocumented type of parasomnia. The person having Exploding Head Syndrome will typically experience a sudden bang which is loud in their head like those heard during an explosion of a bomb or a clash of cymbals or a gun that has gone off. It features a noise that is indecipherable that originates inside the person’s head.
Yet, contrary to its name, this syndrome experiences no swelling or pain or is associated with any physical characteristics. The sound that they hear comes from one’ sown head and is not a yielding of a dream. It is reported to attack when during the times that the person is wide awake or perhaps two hours after the person falls asleep. The noise eventually wears off as the person suddenly wakes up. It affects women and men who are 50 years of age and above and as young as 10 years old have been reported to experience such syndrome. This kind of disorder is not at all harmful or dangerous.
The first one to describe the exploding head syndrome was Robert Armstrong-Jones. He was a psychiatrist as well as a Welsh Physician. He described the syndrome way back 1920. He said that this condition has an exploding kind of sensation felt in the person’s head. When patient’s experience the exploding head syndrome, they sometimes woke up from their sleep and the reported that such loud noises they hear persist for about several seconds. It was John M.S. Pearce during 1989, who gave the detailed syndrome description. He also observed that patients who reported to have this kind of parasomnia syndrome were at the age of 50 years and above.
The person who experiences exploding head syndrome will manifest the following symptoms and signs:
- Loud noise in his or her head such as gunshot, explosion, roar, door slamming or the like
- Video static flash of light
- Shortness of breath
- Buzzing sensation
- Panic episodes
Causes & Risk Factors
The etiological reasons of why exploding head syndrome happens are quite perplexing. Up to this point, the exact reason is still unknown. Yet some physicians and psychologist reported that the following cause may lead to experiencing such syndrome:
- Damage to the brain’s nerve cells
- Muscle jerk or twitch
- Damage to the temporal lobe
- Quick and sudden movement of the patient’ s middle ear
- Sometimes a sharp stabbing pain is felt (rare)
- In addition to that persons who fall over the age of 50 and under the age of 10 usually are at risk for having the exploding head syndrome.
In diagnosing persons with exploding head syndrome, the physician or the psychologist for that matter, follows a step by step diagnostic approach, which is as follows:
- Medical History Examination to determine the history of when and how often it occurs. Most usually the bed partner are the source of the information
- Physical Examination to know any physical disorders brought about the condition
- Overnight polysomnography or PSG this kind of devise is particularly use with persons having a kind of parasomnia. It is an exam to test the sleep, a multi parametric type of exam which is beneficial in the study of the person’s sleeping behavior. It is often use as a diagnostic examination tool in the medicine sleep.
- EEG or Electroencephalograms which usually records the attacks and reveals the activities which are abnormal. It also is used to rule out seizures due to epilepsy.
- Urine Drug Screening Examination is also done to rule out the possibility of drug or substance abuse.
In treating a person with exploding head syndrome, he or she must do the following:
- Go to the Doctor– By going to the doctor, the person is given the assurance that this is not a dangerous or harmful disease. Also, it will also help in diagnosing the problem or the condition that the person experiences. Since only the doctor are allowed to diagnose such kind of syndrome through conducting the following diagnostic measures.
- Control your Stress– One possible causative factor of persons who experience exploding head syndrome is that they are in constant stress. You can do stress relief therapy by doing relaxation exercise such as engaging into yoga exercises or having hot water baths or perhaps psychotherapy
- Keep a sleep journal- This is a good way to record the experiences you have and it is a way to keep track of the syndrome.
- Avoid fatigue Episodes– According to studies conducted, parasomnias such as exploding head syndrome happens when persons are physically exhausted. You can avoid fatigue episodes by trying to get an ample amount of sleep per day. The recommended hours of sleep are eight hours per day.
- Medications– If the above tips do not work, you can ask your physician to prescribe you a medication. Medications usually prescribed in persons with exploding head syndromes are the medications under the antidepressant classification and an example of this medication is Clomipramine, which is a Tricyclic class of antidepressant medication that treats this kind of syndrome.
- Be Patient– Most often, this kind of parasomnia resolves over time. In no time, the syndrome recedes. It takes for about days to years for the symptoms to eventually vanish.
The only way to prevent the occurrence of exploding head syndrome is do the following activities:
- Sleep more often and avoid sleep deprivation. The appropriate number of sleep is 6 to 8 hours.
- Eat a healthy balance diet. Studies show that when a person consumes a healthy and balance diet, it will lead to having a healthy night sleep.
- Relax. There is no need to panic. The noises you hear are just in the mind.
- Take deep breaths whenever you are in panic mode. It helps you relax and loosen up a bit
- Reduce stress by reading your favorite book, go swimming or other kinds of stress reduction activities.
Through doing such helpful tips, it will help you in preventing such syndrome to occur.