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Exploding head syndrome

Signs and Symptoms of Exploding Head Syndrome: – Loud imagined noises when falling asleep or waking up – Emotional reaction without significant pain – Visual […]

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Signs and Symptoms of Exploding Head Syndrome:
– Loud imagined noises when falling asleep or waking up
– Emotional reaction without significant pain
– Visual disturbances like flashes of light
– Sensations of heat or tingling in the head
– Distress, confusion, and physical symptoms like sweating

Causes of Exploding Head Syndrome:
– Dysfunction of the reticular formation in the brainstem
– Minor seizures affecting the temporal lobe
– Ear dysfunctions or sudden shifts in ear components
– Stress, anxiety, and broken sleep patterns
– Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome and PTSD

Diagnosis of Exploding Head Syndrome:
– Classified under parasomnias by the 2014 International Classification of Sleep Disorders
– Unusual auditory hallucination in people not fully awake
– Categorized under other specified sleep-wake disorder
– Diagnosis codes include 780.59 or G47.8
– Lack of clinical trials for safe and effective treatments

Treatment of Exploding Head Syndrome:
– Limited evidence on effective treatments
– Case reports mention clomipramine, flunarizine, and topiramate
– Education and reassurance may reduce episode frequency
– Individuals with EHS often do not report episodes to medical professionals
– No high-quality evidence to support specific treatments

Epidemiology of Exploding Head Syndrome:
– Frequency not well studied, estimated in about 10% of people
– Higher rates in women
– Limited studies on prevalence and affected demographics
– Higher occurrence in individuals with sleep paralysis
– Lack of conclusive statements on commonality and affected populations

Exploding head syndrome (Wikipedia)

Exploding head syndrome (EHS) is an abnormal sensory perception during sleep in which a person experiences auditory hallucinations that are loud and of short duration when falling asleep or waking up. The noise may be frightening, typically occurs only occasionally, and is not a serious health concern. People may also experience a flash of light. Pain is typically absent.

Exploding head syndrome
Other namesEpisodic cranial sensory shock, snapping of the brain, auditory sleep start
SpecialtySleep medicine
SymptomsHearing loud noises when falling asleep or waking up
Differential diagnosisNocturnal epilepsy, hypnic headaches, nightmare disorder, PTSD
TreatmentReassurance, clomipramine, calcium channel blockers
Frequency~10% of people

The cause is unknown. Potential organic explanations that have been investigated but ruled out include ear problems, temporal lobe seizure, nerve dysfunction, or specific genetic changes. Potential risk factors include psychological stress. It is classified as a sleep disorder or headache disorder. People often go undiagnosed.

There is no high-quality evidence to support treatment. Reassurance may be sufficient. Clomipramine and calcium channel blockers have been tried. While the frequency of the condition is not well studied, some have estimated that it occurs in about 10% of people. Women are reportedly more commonly affected. The condition was initially described at least as early as 1876. The current name came into use in 1988.

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