What Are the Symptoms of Exploding Head Syndrome?

Updated on February 22, 2019
ziyena profile image

Personal Experience & Research About Survivor's PTSD, Anxiety & Sleep Disorders, Asperger's Syndrome, and Women's Health & Wellness Issues.

A few years ago, I managed to bang the back of my head on the concave glass wall. Like the clumsy bumbler that I am, I failed to measure the distance between myself and a wing-backed chair in which I unceremoniously plopped myself into while chatting on my cell phone.

Whack! In an instant, a blinding, bright light with a train of glittering stars derailed inside my head. The pain was excruciating, and the soreness left me very tender for a few days. Though an uncomfortable feeling, I thought nothing more of it other than a silly accident until just this last week when I had an unexpected and literal mind-blowing experience.

Depiction of the Strange Sensation of What Feels Line an Electrically Charged Brain
Depiction of the Strange Sensation of What Feels Line an Electrically Charged Brain | Source

What the Heck is Happening to Me?

Soon after my accident, while falling into a blissful sleep, I experienced a violent jolt. The only way I can describe it was like electrocution surging through my brain. The after effect was that of confusion and a numb, tingling heat that started from the left side of my temple and down the bottom of my cheek, surrounding the corner of my lips and lasted for about a day.

Of course, I went to the ER and had a CT scan with reasonable results. No blood clot, aneurysm, or a cracked skull, everything reported as entirely usual. Given my disbelief, the doctor did suggest I immediately see a neurologist since I had experienced what seemed to be a seizure.

Had I experienced a seizure or was this something else?

As an investigator, I took every possible path with my online research. Hitting my head is the most likely answer to this new condition I'm experiencing, maybe a Post Concussion Syndrome, but then there is another possibility. I have had for some time, chronic symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and with this ailment, you can also experience bouts of insomnia, which is another possible link to Exploding Head Disorder. At this point, I can not pinpoint the reasoning behind my sudden onset. However, what I can pinpoint is that this condition happens right before falling to sleep. There is a surge, maybe two or three right before the big one, and then after-shocks that can last for a few hours.

Migraine Stress From Lack of Sleep
Migraine Stress From Lack of Sleep | Source

What is Exploding Head Syndrome?

Exploding Head Syndrome or (EHS) is a condition which was first publicly discussed by Robert Armstong Jones, a Welsh Physician who in 1920 described the ailment as an exploding sensation in the head.

For those individuals who suffer from EHS, they tend to experience a loud noise, or an electrical pulse, which surges through their head. Some may experience a bright flash of light or visual static which accompanies the initial sensation. In many cases, the respondent may experience an out-of-body feeling where they undergo a surge which makes them feel an electrical separation of mind and body while others experience a rush of adrenaline, and heart-pounding palpitations, which border symptoms of a panic attack. While most report dealing with a large amount of stress, there are some who develop insomnia from fear of the certain sensations which come with the disorder.

The American Sleep Association (ASA) regards the disorder as a non-dangerous ailment and explains further:

"Exploding Head Syndrome is thought to be highly connected with stress and extreme fatigue in most individuals. What causes the sensation in individuals is still unknown, though speculation of possible sources includes minor seizures affecting the temporal lobe or sudden shifts in the middle ear components."

Case Study Facts on Exploding Head Syndrome

Exploding Head Syndrome Experience

How do I Know if I'm Experiencing Exploding Head Syndrome or a Seizure?

All seizures have three stages:

  1. The first stage you may experience is that of a severe headache, dizziness and blurring vision, a tingling sensation with a funny feeling in the stomach.
  2. The second stage may be a convulsion, erratic shaking, stiffness, blacking out or falling.
  3. The third stage is usually feeling very weak with exhaustion and falling asleep.

The symptoms of Exploding Head Syndrome are experiencing odd sensations and a feeling of annoyance whereas, in comparison with the signs of a seizure, the overall experience is very much physical and in some cases, detrimental.

The best way to determine what you are experiencing would be to visit your doctor. Get a referral with a Neurologist and have a sleep study ordered. Although Exploding Head Syndrome is not life-threatening like seizures, it can seem debilitating when aligned with insomnia, causing the sufferer to need additional help, including visits to a psychotherapist.

Sleep Center Study On Nocturnal Seizures

You Are Not Alone With Exploding Head Syndrome

After hours and hours of researching case studies and personal stories over the internet, I've come to the particular conclusion that I'm not crazy or delusional as I had once feared.

Hundreds of people, if not thousands have come forward sharing their stories, rehashing my own experience to various degrees. Their stories made me feel validated since my physician could not diagnose my problem and suggested that I visit an emotional therapist. Yes, the symptoms did cause anxiety and some depression due to lack of sleep, but his implicit suggestion that I might have a mental health condition based on his inability to diagnose my problem somehow made me feel as if he thought I'd been making the whole scenario up. It's no wonder that there are others out there, experiencing the same thing and refuse to get medical attention for fear of ridicule.

In closing, there is good news for those who experience Exploding Head Syndrome. Just in the last few years, there have been more case studies and scientific and medical research moving to advance the education of this challenging condition.


Interesting Personal Experience With Possible Explanation On EHS?

Cited Work & Resources

Frese, A., Summ, O. & Evers, S. 2014. Exploding Head Syndrome: Six New Cases and Review of the Literature, Cephalalgia

Brian A.Sharpless. December 2014. Volume 18, Issue 6, Pages 489–493 Exploding Head Syndrome, Sleep Medicine Reviews

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Ziyena Brazos

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, patientslounge.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://patientslounge.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)