Talk:Exploding head syndrome

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Related phenomena[edit]

The citation for out of body experience appears to be Self-Published (, which links to: Does anyone else see this or believe it should be left. It obviously leads to a commercial website, but also holds what might be original work. IamM1rv (talk) 15:28, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Amphetamine "suggestion"[edit]

I've removed the following un-sourced statement: "Amphetamines can also help alleviate the condition. However, the latter is strongly discouraged.". I've done so because there's no source of this information, and because the information could be potentially harmful I believe it should only be included if it is properly sourced. Wokstation (talk) 00:11, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

I believe there may be some information about this in Oliver Sack's book "Musicophilia" Amurphy96822 (talk) 21:52, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Influencing the Syndrome?[edit]

I typically have many months free of any of this, and then typically days in a row where it happens almost every night. When I am in a very stressed life situation, it may even happen during the day. My impression is that it becomes more likely, the more I over-worked on the computer. Also, and this is an odd thing, it seems to be much stronger when I've had sex that day. And I think it never happened so far when I did a lot of (non-sexual) physical exercises that day. Also I wonder, are there no studies about influences and avoiding the problem? For me, in about 90% of the cases it happens, when I laid still on the left side. When it happened once, it then may happen a second time, slightly less though, when I've turned to lie on my back or on the right side (especially regarding how my head rests on the pillow). BUT whenever I thought, "ah, c'mon, won't happen again, I stay on the left side", it came back two, three, four or more times within only few minutes and every time stronger than before. Are there no research findings in this direction? I mean, it could give hints as to the mechanism... (talk) 11:22, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Neck position[edit]

I always experience this if I start going to sleep flat on my back with my face straight up; feels as though it starts as a low-volume mid-pitch buzzing/ringing at the base of my neck or mid-neck, rises in volume exponentially over 2 to 6 seconds and moves up to the rear base of my skull - all the way through below and behind my ears - then crescendos as loud as I can hear without being painful, plus a flash of light all through my head. Never managed to open my eyes, or to move my head fast enough to stop it crescendoing, which is unpleasant but not scary. I've been going to sleep on my front with my head facing one side or the other since I was a small child (3 or 4 years old), but this has only been happening since my late teens; I ride a road-race style motorbike and used to headbang, so minor neck damage may well be contributing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:27, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Example in Art[edit]

The "Neck position" section from another writer matches my experiences (I also have occasional migraines and sleep paralysis), which convinces me that I have experienced Exploding Head Syndrome. It sounds like "Speak to Me", the opening crescendo from The Dark Side of the Moon. The "rattling engine" from the song is more like a flutter or baffle noise, though. Given the album's theme of mental illness, I assume it was included to mimic the symptom of auditory hallucination. I think the lyrics from the later track "Brain Damage" ("And if your head explodes" and "thunder in your ear") lends credence to the idea. Any way to include any of this wild conjecture in the article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

First we would need to identify reliable sources, per WP policy.—RJH (talk) 18:15, 14 May 2011 (UTC)


I can testify that this has happened to me. It came when I went, probably too quickly, off of a course of SSRIs. In addition to many of the other documented symptoms (such as "Brain Zaps," a term I had never known existed but precisely described the sensation), I experienced a few hallucinations, auditory and visual, and a great deal of sleep paralysis. But the worst part of waking up during sleep paralysis, beyond the terror of feeling captive, sometimes preceded by dreams of being thrown up and bound against a wall by a shadow, or crushed on the ground by some immeasurable object, was the sensation I got only a handful of times that I can only imagine as exploding head syndrome. On these few occasions, I would wake in my bed, still unable to move, and trying as hard as I possibly could to turn my head to the side (the only way I found to escape sleep paralysis), but the ringing in my ears would be the cacophony of a thousand orchestras, playing every note as loud as they could, crashing symbols and discordant wailing strings and the shrill screaming of woodwinds, all at the very same time, and louder than can be imagined by someone who has only heard with their ears. I found stability in a relatively modest course of mood stabilizers and anti-depressants, but the things I heard in those brief depths of madness will never leave me.

I realize my statement can never be validated or peer-reviewed, but I offer my most honest and sincere endorsement that this is a real condition, and one I would never wish on anybody. I still shudder-- literally shudder, as in I get chills, in the office, on the subway, out for dinner with a friend-- every time I remember it. Christ almighty, to think it's a comfort that others have heard it too. (talk) 04:16, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

The lack of peer-reviewed scholarly/verifiable sources is disappointing. Perhaps the condition is not common enough or there if fear of ridicule? I don't know if SSRIs are a catalyst for this, but I have also had similar experiences to your own. I was on SSRIs for two years about two years back. I too experienced the infamous "brain zaps" and would also like to add that the lack of peer-reviewed sources on these specific discontinuation effects is equally disappointing. There are even skeptics for the brain zaps, I'm guessing they've never used SSRIs. They went away, but I get them when fatigued from time-to-time.
I'm just happy that this 'exploding head syndrome' is common enough to warrant an article on Wikipedia and I'm not going crazy or dying (I hope not at least). I thought I was having a seizure during my sleep, no idea what was happening, and very afraid to talk about it to anybody after waking up. I do have a history of sleep paralysis dating back years before I was ever on SSRIs. Each time I have experienced this, it has been immediately preceded by sleep paralysis. Screeching sounds and hallucinations are well-documented for sleep paralysis. It is frightening, but at least it is normal. Well, maybe normal is not the appropriate word. I'm not so sure about the feeling of electricity inside of your head, but at least there is no pain.
Recently, somebody suggested that I 'meditate' to help depression, so not knowing how to do that I read about concentrating on a phosphene with eyes closed. I have no idea if I fell asleep, or something else, but my eyes began to move rapidly and I was paralyzed just like sleep paralysis. I was hallucinating, and that exploding head thing happened. It was pretty scary. Apparently some have said that they are able to do that as a way to trigger an out of body experience if you relax. I tried it again, had sleep paralysis and exploding head syndrome, relaxed, and the 'electricity' in my head diminished. I did not have an OOBE though but the hallucinations remained until I 'snapped out' of it a second later. It is also possible that I had fallen asleep. I know this is not a forum and I am not a peer-reviewed source. There is unfortunately a lack of any information on this frightening and very real sensation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:27, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
There are a number of peer-reviewed works available on Google Scholar. Per JM Pearce (1989), it may also have been named cephalgia fugax. Regards, RJH (talk) 19:49, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Severe Psychological Trauma[edit]

Two episodes-both I was fully awake and standing when unexpectedly, I heard statements which so stunned and devastated me emotionally that I perceived an immediate, distinct "snap" sensation (as if someone snapped their fingers hard deep inside my head), accompanied by a split-second flash of light centered behind my eyes. The snap/flash was followed with a vague and fleeting disruption of vision, or possible dizzyness similar to the sensation one notices immediately prior to fainting. The first time I was 15, and the second I was 31 years old. For the record, have also had 2 episodes of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder which caused significant injury and trauma so severe I began strapping myself to the bed to prevent further danger. The REMSBD episodes both occured at 35yrs. during high stress due to career change/new job. Also of note: my father's brother died of ALS at 62, while my father, his mother and her mother before her all developed dementia of such severity they recognized no one and were bed-ridden at their deaths. I submit this information, despite the admonition on discussion, because perhaps it may help others as the info from other's helped me. S. L. Hamilton female/48/caucasian 09/17/2011 (talk) 12:08, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Clarification needed (maybe)[edit]

"Electroencephalograms recorded during actual attacks show unusual activity only in some sufferers, and have ruled out epileptic seizures as a cause.[3] But an attack must happen during an episode. If results are normal during the test, only then can epilepsy be completely ruled out." (This version)

"Attack" and "episode" are similar in meaning, so it would be nice if we could clarify which one refers to seizures and which to exploding head syndrome itself. Electricmuffin11 (talk) 00:20, 4 June 2012 (UTC)


So that means if I get this syndrome, my head will explode or something similar? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:59, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Experiences & Conclusions[edit]

Symtoms: Short intrusions while falling asleep: feeling that electricity runs through and occupies the brain, feeling that my heart stops or my body is 'shut off'/'disconnected', vision that someone smashes a big shield towards my head or someone suddenly moves closely towards me and cries extremely loudly, ... I also had a related episode, while walking seeing 'mouches volants' (Floaters) or the experience of getting hit to the head (Zaps) with a moment interruption of conciousness.

Possible explaination: * 1) Maltreadment of the neck nerves or vertebral column, caused by stress, overstraining office / computer / cellular work. When the body relaxes a non-painful or distressing trauma could be triggered to the according nerves, like a 'reset'. Physical therapy, exercises, concious sitting can help. Symptoms according to section of spine: neck - head, breast - chest/heart, ... | * 2) falling-asleep-process decouples body sensivity before concious awareness of it. Stress relaxing / chilldown phase before going to sleep, less caffeine can help. (Caffeine rises the awake-level over the appropriate necessity. Avoid anything that effects the circadian rhythm.) Sometimes the dreaming-conciousness wraps the physical experiences into some sort of visions or acoustic interpretations. The mentionned relation to out-of-body (maybe lucid dreaming) experiences seems obvious.

related: SSRI discontinuation syndrome (incl 'Brain Zaps') seem related to trigeminus symptoms, Trigeminal neuralgia, Floater, Phantom limb, Vertebral column

ps: Sorry for my English. Nothing empiric, but reflective attention to my body. -- (talk) 23:17, 8 June 2013 (UTC)


I feel like this article could benefit from an etymology section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:07, 10 September 2013 (UTC)


This article is very informative and useful when examining the symptoms of exploding head syndrome. There is not a lot of research done on this syndrome, but if anyone could find the possible sleep stages (1,2,3,4) for when this phenomena could occur would be helpful. It is also important to expand on the numbers and statistics of males who have this condition compared to females and the variants in age probability. Overall great article for a syndrome that does not have significant data explaining its mechanism and cause.

Jokeck7 (talk) 01:38, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

No clue what I'm going since never edited wiki pedia but the line "...a gun going off.." ,guns do not make a loud bang thats a myth from Hollywood ,if someone can please remove that line it would be helpful . I just hate for people to be miss informed (talk) 12:09, 23 February 2015 (UTC)