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Alien Hand Syndrome: Just Another Trick Your Brain Plays

Updated on March 2, 2020
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These wandering hands really are not my fault!

The only guy or girl who would ever be able to pull that line off successfully would be someone who suffers from alien hand syndrome, or anarchic hand syndrome. This syndrome individuals experience includes sensation and movement of one of their hands, though this movement is separate from their control. To put it simply, their hand moves on it's own!

What causes anarchic hand syndrome?

In one extreme, having a surgeon split your brain in two (an actual procedure wherein the surgeon splits the two halves of your brain in an effort to relieve severe epilepsy) seems to be one cause. Having a stroke, infection, or other surgery to your brain can also be a factor in this bizarre affliction. Other likely causes are:

  • § Damage to the frontal lobe of the brain
  • § Being a great liar to cover up your perverted groping (I joke, I joke.)
  • § Any disconnection between parts of the brain involved in body movement, such as the parts that control the right and left hand, foot, eye, etcetera.

What to do about conflicted grips:

One suggested solution to controlling your wayward hand has been to occupy it with an object to grasp at all times. Another suggestion I found was to train your hand to perform a certain action. You can wear an oven mitt, which desensitizes the hand and makes it less likely to perform random acts, though it will also be more difficult to perform what regular tasks it is capable of presently.

Interesting Trivia Regarding Anarchic Hand Syndrome:

  • Some sufferers of alien hand syndrome give life to their affliction, referring to their own hand as if it belongs to someone else, as if it rents space on their arm for fun.
  • In popular media, over 30 high-profile shows have featured anarchic hand syndrome involving one or more main characters.
  • Really, one serious tip I found online did refer to wearing an oven mitt, the thing from your kitchen keeping you from burning yourself when you pull food out of the oven.

Treatment of Alien Hand Syndrome

Alien hand syndrome is not simply it's own separate ailment, however. A condition called corticobasal-degeneration, or CBD for short, is a disorder where multiple parts of the brain are affected by loss of nerve cells and shrinking of the brain itself. A gradual degeneration, CBD may affect one part of the brain before another, and the onset of alien hand syndrome is fairly common as a precursor to CBD, happening in roughly 60% of all cases of the disorder.

As a result of this connection, and while little else in the way of treatment for alien hand syndrome exists, there are medications that individuals suffering from the syndrome can take to alleviate the twitching and fidgeting of their affected limbs. Clonazepam is one such medication.


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