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Mind Blowing ... Exploding Head Syndrome

Updated on December 24, 2009

A short film looking into how it feels to suffer from the sleep condition known as Exploding Head Syndrome

Is It All in My Head?

Despite the over-the-top name, your head doesn't really explode. The name does fit what goes on inside the dome of the rare person who does have this odd condition. I know from first hand experience what Exploding Head Syndrome feels like. My bouts were even stranger, because my brain ka-BOOMs happened in my teen years, and most of the time while I was awake.Just going about my day. As quickly and as unexplainable as these instances occurred... They stopped in my twenties.

I never thought much about the loud KA-BAMMs I felt, but I never forgot the feeling. I didn't even know it had a name, or that it was considered a "condition." I just thought it was just "one of those things." Until one day, I was listening to late night talk radio and the topic was Exploding Brain Syndrome.

Exploding Head Syndrome has been described as a very loud sound. Like that of an explosion, almost bomb-like. Some experience loud ringing, screams or shouts, and even buzzing-like sounds... just to name a few sounds that people have experienced. None the less the extremely loud sound is really shocking, but oddly enough, usually there is no pain, swelling or any other physical trait associated along with the mind explosion. Some people often complain of flashes of light during an attack.

Often the person who has this condition does feel a sense of fear and anxiety after an attack, and even an elevated heart rate, or even difficulty in breathing. But the same is true with any kind of sudden trauma such as vomiting, and many other illnesses. Although it is sometimes distressing to experience, its not thought as harmful to one's self.

Exploding head syndrome is rare and there is not much documentation regarding the subject. It most often occurs just before deep sleep, and sometimes upon coming out of a deep sleep. Attacks may increase or decrease and can disappear for long periods of time or entirely, without any reasoning. On average people over the age of 50 are most likely to experience Exploding Head Syndrome, and women are at a higher rate of experiencing Exploding Head Syndrome than men. EHS has been reported in people as young as 10 years old.

Exploding Head Syndrome is believed to be connected with stress and extreme fatigue. Though still what actually causes the mind blowing effect in individuals is still unknown... It is speculated that possible explanations are minor seizures affecting the temporal lobe, sudden shifts in middle ear, the Eustachian tube may suddenly move, or even an extreme case of tinnitus .

Even though, Exploding Head Syndrome is not considered dangerous, and does not seem to have an effect on sleeping, many people who do have the condition do seek help for their symptoms from a doctor. One medication that has been used to treat Exploding Head Syndrome is clomipramine, which is an antidepressant.

Since many believe that stress is causing the brain bomb, maybe a more natural or holistic approach may help? Some suggestions that could stop your dome from errupting, and could greatly improve your well-being anyway... Exploding Head or not. Many suggest these buffers to lower stress levels like reading, taking walks, yoga, relaxing music or a hot bath before bed (of course let's not discount the power of sex as a stress reliever.) These steps have not only demonstrated to be a positive effect in quality sleep, but in quality living in general.

What Causes Your Stress? Understanding Stress Management


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    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great hub! The first picture took me off guard though! LOL

    • profile image

      Rae rae 5 years ago

      Wow, so im not the only one, this morning I felt the same thing it I like my brain exploded. and I was wondering is this is a reoccurring thing. it was pretty scary.

    • Bhanu.Jas profile image

      Bhawana Salaria 6 years ago from Australia

      Great Hub.It would be my pleasure to read your hubs.


    • PSSST! profile image

      PSSST! 6 years ago from Conneticut

      I didn't know if this was for real at first.....still not sure...interesting...weird...

    • Sembj profile image

      Sembj 6 years ago

      It was not until the third paragraph that I realized that the syndrome was for real - I think the photo while graphic made me wonder about the authenticity of what might accompany it. Even after reading your article, I had to Google the syndrome and read more. That tells you something about the state of my head. Thank you for the article, it's not everyday I hear about a syndrome with such an interesting name - but sad for those who live with it.

    • Pagelift profile image

      Pagelift 6 years ago

      Exploding head syndrome, what a great name, but I'm sorry to anyone who is actually experiencing this!

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 6 years ago from east of the equator

      EHS is a new one for me too. Love the image of the literal experience which is quite funny despite its lack of empathy. I've known quite a few who have experienced a chronic swelling of the head but the etiology of that affliction has been traced by W.H.O. to exploding ego.

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      I used to get some of these effects. Pounding my head against the wall due to a migraine every time a killer low pressure system hit didn't help. in SoCal, don't have that problem.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      WOW, I am so glad I meditate! I have felt pretty freakin stressed before! Well done and great reporting on the mind blowing exploding head syndrome.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 7 years ago from South Africa

      This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing this information. Without this (new) knowledge my heart will surely abruptly cease to work when I hear an explosion in my head, for it will ‘think’ there is no more brains left in my head in need of oxygen-enriched blood. I like your style of writing. Take care!

    • tdarby profile image

      tdarby 7 years ago

      Amazing! That is possibly the craziest thing I have heard all month. I never knew this existed.

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 7 years ago from Maine

      Wow, I never heard of this. I'd like to research this. You must have been so frightened when you were experiencing this. So happy these episodes stopped in your twenties. Great hub, thank you for sharing!

    • Specialk3749 profile image

      Karen Metz 7 years ago from Michigan

      I have never heard of this condition. Thank you for making me aware of it.

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 7 years ago from Sydney

      Of all the pains that one usually achieve as you wonder through life the holy headache is one that I have managed to miss.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

      stess rears it's uglee head again!! no pun intended!!

      informative, thanks! I don't have experience with it, but it sounds horrible! Good Luck and stay healthy!

    • Healing Touch profile image

      Laura Arne 7 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

      I know every year I have to go to the doc and get my ears cleaned out or I hear the loud train like sounds and pow. Tell your readers to keep the ol ears clean. It helps.

    • Fenixfan profile image

      Jesse James 7 years ago from Crooked Letter State

      Dude this was great. You had me so skeptical when I saw the title. Definitely a great title and very well written. Something tells me you've been writing a while. Let me leave this and go become your fan. Gotta keep an eye on this kinda stuff.

    • profile image

      Sinead 7 years ago

      Hi I am an 19 yr old female and got this really loud continuous shouting noise in my head last night that got louder and louder and just before I woke out of it (I was half asleep) My arms and head raised up uncontrollably but it was like I was watching myself doing it... It was scary! So this morning I typed "dreaming of a loud noise in your head" into google and exploding head syndrome came up I couldn't belive it was actually a recognised medical condition. After reading symtoms etc it made me recall an incident quite similar about 9 months ago except this time I was awake I heard someone shouting something loud in my head except this time I thought they were saying words which I couldn't make out then I was quite frighted but thought "I must have been asleep" At this point I was wide awake and creeped out.. but this shouting was followed by an extremely loud noise it was like a school bell going off inside my head! I was creeped out by this for a few days but later forgot about it until last night.. I really hope this condition is nothing to worry about??? Thanks for reading, Sinead :)

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Certainly would not be a way I'd enjoy waking up. An odd condition to be sure.

    • profile image

      CarolR 7 years ago

      I did not mean that I don't believe that you are experiencing your symptoms -- that is believable. I trust that you are going through those things. Please check out electronic harassment - it is on the rise in this country. Don't be fooled. Someone might be toying with you and making you think that you have a condition that you DO NOT HAVE. Best of luck to you, my friend.

    • profile image

      Old Woman Who Sits in The Dark 7 years ago

      It sounds like you need to research electronic harassment since this is a likely cause of this "manufactured syndrome."

    • profile image

      CarolR 7 years ago

      This is the biggest pile of crap I have ever read. Honey, you need to do your Research! Microwave auditory effect. Electronic harassment. Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

    • Jimmie Mac profile image

      Jimmie Mac 7 years ago from Lurking around Florida

      Thank you Tank!

      Your sharing the symptoms that you experience may help someone else who may suffer by isn't sure of what may be going on in their head.

      I hope you find relief.

    • profile image

      Tank Abbott 7 years ago

      I suffer from this and feel I should share my symptons...

      Basically, my explosions manifest themselves as loud whooshing sounds (think seashell against your ear or someone blowing really hard straight down your ear canal). Normally there's a pulse of three or four smaller ones which alert me that I'm having an ESH attack. When it occurs, I'm always very much aware of it and not sleeping.

      Something I've noticed since finding out about the condition is that it induces mild sleep paralysis - I physically cannot move my limbs, although my head frequently twitches and my mouth can open, although I cannot vocalize sound.

      It's only manifested itself for the last three years during unviersity, and I tend to have a few weeks where I have a lot of attacks and then no more for a long period of time.

    • Jimmie Mac profile image

      Jimmie Mac 7 years ago from Lurking around Florida

      Enlydia Listener, there is no pain accompanying the sound, and thank you for taking the time to read and comment on both me Hub accounts.

      Angela_1973, ha... the might powers of the grape estate elxir.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 7 years ago from trailer in the country

      Was there pain accompanying the sound?

    • Angela_1973 profile image

      Angela_1973 7 years ago

      I think I am there too but 7 p.m is my wine hour and then everything is better.

    • Jimmie Mac profile image

      Jimmie Mac 7 years ago from Lurking around Florida

      If it causes your brain to mimick an A-Bomb... its not good

    • profile image

      Miss Take 7 years ago

      well now we know, stress is a killer for sure

    • Jimmie Mac profile image

      Jimmie Mac 7 years ago from Lurking around Florida

      Thank you for reading, AE. I would say have a blast, but it could be a poor choice in words.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I have heard that before and I didn't know what in the world it was! Thanks for providing greater insight on the issue. :)

    • Jimmie Mac profile image

      Jimmie Mac 7 years ago from Lurking around Florida

      Thank you Dink...

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 7 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      I thought I had done a fair amount of neuro research, but had never heard of this. Glad yours resolved itself; however I can imagine the sufferers' frustration of dealing with this afflication, yet having no real relief or adequate answers. I can very much relate to that experience. Very informative hub on an obscure topic. WELCOME back to writing! I for one have missed your style and substance.

    • Jimmie Mac profile image

      Jimmie Mac 7 years ago from Lurking around Florida

      Thanks from taking the time to read my little Hub on a rare condition William. Remember you not hearing of EHS is a good thing.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I hadn't heard about this syndrome, Jimmie. Very interesting. Enjoyed the videos, too.

    • Jimmie Mac profile image

      Jimmie Mac 7 years ago from Lurking around Florida

      I hope not Lorlie6... for your own well being and quality of life

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I think I'm THERE!!!!!

    • Jimmie Mac profile image

      Jimmie Mac 7 years ago from Lurking around Florida

      Thank you loua,

      Stress is a time-bomb, for sure. I believe we were ment to live simpler lives in harmony with our surroundings... not to spend lives in cubicals and grid-lock

    • loua profile image

      loua 7 years ago from Elsewhere, visiting Earth ~ the segregated community planet

      Quite fascinating phenomena, its not surprising that stress might be the culprit, its the cause of so many aliments...

      You would think that society would be more cognizant of the need to address stress as a social issue...

      Good article, thanks for sharing it...