Alien hand syndrome or Dr Strangelove syndrome is when a person’s limb has a mind of its own.

What is Alien Hand Syndrome?

Alien Hand Syndrome

Alien hand syndrome or Dr Strangelove syndrome is when a person’s limb has a mind of its own. The syndrome causes the hand to act without the consent of the individual. This rare neurological disorder can be embarrassing and at times be a nuisance for those who suffer from it but does not necessarily have to be. There are ways for individuals to get help with this problem and have a better understanding of what is going on in their bodies.

If you’re an individual who suffers from Alien Hand Syndrome, you may have found yourself being accused of being a thief or even worse, being accused of having a mental illness. Before you are judged and kicked out of school all because your hand stole something or maybe even worse, someone may have called the police on you thinking you’re crazy.

Alien hand syndrome is a disorder that causes the sufferer to experience their hand as being not their own. Many patients report their hand taking on a will of its own, often stealing objects and becoming the dominant hand. This can cause numerous problems in those who suffer from this syndrome.

This is a pretty unusual disease, but it's also extremely interesting because it serves as an illustration of how the brain works and how our body works. This condition is a rare disorder of the nervous system that causes a person's hands to act involuntarily. That means that the hand may make unpredictable and involuntary movements or even act in a way that is opposite to the wishes or desires of the person who owns the hand. 

What happens is that one of your hands doesn't listen to your commands, instead, they are under the control of their own brain. Sometimes the hand can even attack the other body parts, such as biting or pinching by itself. That's why this syndrome is also sometimes referred to as attacking hand syndrome.

Causes & Symptoms of Alien Hand Syndrome

AHS is a rare neurological disorder where a person’s hand will begin to put itself into positions that are abnormal and uncomfortable. In other words, it can act on its own without the person’s control.

With the onset of alien hand syndrome, an individual may experience a sense of the hand having a mind of its own. A person with this disorder can have one hand, both hands or both arms be in this condition. Feeling that a hand has an alien hand syndrome can make carrying out daily tasks challenging and frightening.

Nowadays, most people are suffering from alien hand syndrome. They feel they have a foreign hand that is attached to their body. It is a rare neurological disorder in which a person feels that one of his or her hands is not his or her own.

A doctor may diagnose alien hand syndrome through observation and evaluation. Diagnosing AHS is complicated because it’s a neurological disorder that lacks a psychiatric component. This makes it more difficult to diagnose because behavioural issues are more common than AHS.

Remember, if weight is your perceived flaw, an eating disorder must be ruled out first. Some people are diagnosed with both alien hand syndrome and an eating disorder.

Treatment Options for Alien Hand Syndrome

The behaviour of the alien hand usually differs from other movements and can cause problems in daily activities, such as eating and dressing. Therefore, it is important to treat AHS as early as possible. In addition to medical treatment, there are also some behaviour therapies that help treat AHS.

Psychosurgery is a surgical operation that separates some neural structures in the brain (eg the corpus callosum) to ameliorate the symptoms of mental disorders. However, this treatment will not cure AHS but can help control the hand.

Detailed study of this condition is still ongoing but we do know some things about it. For example, we know that the person suffering from AHS doesn't experience any kind of pain or discomfort in the affected hand. The affected hand also has a will of its own.

The most common treatment for Alien Hand Syndrome is a surgical procedure called a corpus callosotomy where the corpus callosum (the part of the brain which transfers information between the two hemispheres) is severed.

Other treatments like muscle control therapies such as botulinum toxin (Botox) and neuromuscular blocking agents. Benzodiazepines have been successfully used in some cases but behavioural techniques seem to be more effective.

Minor box therapy, cognitive therapy techniques and learning task behavioural therapies can help manage symptoms. Visuospatial coaching techniques may also help. Sometimes people try to restrain their alien hand by holding it under between their legs or sitting on it. Some people may find this technique helpful and others try to hold an object in the alien hand to prevent it from performing tasks.

Take Away

If you have ever been driving and realized your hands weren’t on the wheel, or if you started doing something, like eating a piece of food, and you weren’t aware of doing it, you may have experienced a case of Alien Hand Syndrome.

There are many theories about why someone would experience Alien Hand Syndrome. Some believe it is caused by a stroke in the brain, head trauma or even multiple personality disorder.