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California Pediatric Neurologist
California Pediatric Neurologist, Pediatric Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 11
Experience:  4 years experience, board certified in pediatrics, neurology, and clinical neurophysiology
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My son (10) experiences something he calls fast feeling

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My son (10) experiences something he calls 'fast feeling'. A sensation that everything around him is speeded up and intensified. I have read on internet forums of others who experience the same thing, but no-one has a medical explanation. Any suggestiions?
I think you are asking for possible explanations. Right? If so, 2 ideas come to mind and they are the impulsive (hyperactive) symptoms of ADHD versus Panic Disorder. In working with children with ADHD they are sometimes taught How Does Your Engine Run?, a way for children to notice when they are too reved up. Then they are taught calming strategies like those that you are using. What you describe is more like a typical Panic attack but you are not describing any anxiety trigger.
Needless to say, we can not diagnose on-line, but these are some thoughts. If these "attacks" are interfering with his function at home or school, you should seek an evaluation soon.
Hope these thoughts were helpful and feel free to ask a follow-up question.

Please press the green "accept" button.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


This is totally off track.

He has never suffered from panic attacks or ADHD

He is a very normal well balanced child.

These experiences have sometimes occurred when he has been unwell.

But just as often have been when he has been going to sleep.

Probably worth adding that except for these occasions he never has any trouble going to sleep - usually out like a light in minutes.


This is what I found when i googled 'fast feeling' it matches his description very well.

"Iv posted this under mental conditions but am clueless to what may be causing this.
I am 20 years old and for at least the last ten years I have been getting what I used to call as a child "fast feelings".
They do not occur very often at all (more so when I was younger, probably only once or twice a year now).
Its a symptom thats really hard to explain but i'll try my best. Basically its a wave of adrenallin that feels my brain. However im not bouncing off the walls or breathing fast, or anything like that. I can feel my body and thoughts moving at normal speed but on a subconscious level it feels like everything is moving a mile a second.
For example, if I move something in front of me, I know logically that it is moving at normal speed and I can even see that it is, but psychologically it feels like a huge adrenalin rush where everything is moving with great urgency.
The only thing that I can think of when linking the each experience is when im concentrating on something particular (often when I am drawing).
I am not worried at all about it - watching tv, or reading usually stops the feeling in a few minutes, and its not frequent at all. I was just curious if anybody had similar symptons or could tell me what it could possibly be.

I hope I explained it well enough, like I said its a very strange feeling to explain."


There are dozens of posts on this thread - all saying they have experienced this too.

Good morning - and thanks for writing JA.


First of all, thanks for writing.


Second, thanks for describing so well the sensations your son experiences. I also found the website you recommended very helpful.


Third, I do not believe that your son is experiencing a mental illness or even a frank neurological event (although I'm not a physician). Reading that some people have ascribed this to a vertiginous event or mile temporal lobe epilepsy might make sense - but seems rather to be transforming a mole-hill into a mountain. And who needs that?


Fourth, I wonder if your son experiences "Night Terrors." Roughly 15-30% of children under adolescence experience intense dreams in which they may move about the bed or room almost in terror (perhaps yelling, crying, running) and are unwakeable (or nearly so) until they suddenly revert back to sleep. They often have very little memory of the night terror event itself - although may have some vague recall of waking up crying or in a strange place in the bedroom.


So, before we proceed any farther, I do not believe we're dealing with a psychiatric disorder at all. I would like to know about any night terrors that you are aware of before I check with some other experts in neurology. If you could, please let me know.


Thanks. Hope you're well.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Blake


Thanks for your response.

Yes we don't think it is a mental illness or a psychiatric disorder either.

He is very aware of what is happening and can discuss it with us quite calmly and lucidly. He doesn't like the sensation and wants to know why it happens and how to stop it.

The possibility of it being a precursor to epilepsy has concerned us. I mentioned earlier that his (paternal) grandmother developed epilepsy at about age 40.


Yes I think he probably has experienced a mild form of what you describe as 'night terrors'. Sometimes after he had fallen asleep, he would get out of bed and come out to us, quite distressed but not able to explain why or what was wrong. We would put him back to bed without any problem, but sometimes the same thing would happen a couple of times in a night. Although he would talk to us he often didn't make much sense and I have suspected that he was actually sleepwalking. He sometimes didn't remember the experience of the night in the morning. He hasn't had one of these episodes for a while, (possibly a year) I thought he may have grown out of it.


The 'fast feelings' have been occurring occasionally for at least a couple of years maybe longer, and certainly for a while both things were happening concurrently, though not frequently, over the same period of time. At this point the 'fast feelings' are more frequent. Interestingly they do often occurr at night as he is going to sleep, or when he is tired or unwell. Not always though, sometimes there seems to be no reason or trigger I can see.


Thank you for your help. I look forward to hearing from you again.

Thanks for your reply.


I appreciate your concerns and, I will be completely frank with you - I do *not* believe this to be a psychiatric illness and may have a neurodevelopmental component. I say neurodevelopmental because, for the most part, my experience with the "night terrors" and "fast feelings" are related to neurological development and wane over time (and development). Since I have had no training in this particular phenomenon (it has never come up in any of my coursework, residency, fellowship), I believe it should be referred to one of our neurology experts (which I will do presently).


Not only do I have an interest in this phenomenon from a professional standpoint - I suffered from similar experiences as a child and believe my eldest son may as well (he is 8). This was, again to be frank, the first I'd heard of others with the experience. So - THANK YOU for asking the question.


I look forward to learning more about it from one of JA's neurology experts. I hope and trust that s/he will be helpful to us both!


Best of luck to you and your family!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you Blake, I appreciate the referral - and your personal perspective.


The theory that it has a developmental basis would make sense to me and would certainly fit with the comments made on the forum thread on 'fast feeling'

Many participants mentioned the incidences becoming less frequent with age.


Also it doesn't seem to do anyone any harm! Which is a good thought.


Thanks so much for your help, and if you are ever planning to come to New Zealand, I can reccommend a great place to stay!



Kate Dimock

[email protected]

From a neurological perspective, a couple of possibilities could be seizures and migraine, but these would also be very unlikely based on the description in the forum. Seizures that do not cause a loss of consciousness, but cause strange feelings are called simple partial seizures. It would be extremely rare just to have these feelings, and not have other types of seizures. An EEG could check to see if the possibility exists. People who suffer migraines can describe all types of distortions of time, vision, and other sensations. But these typically happen in the setting of a headache. It is possible, but very rare to have these symptoms without a headache. That is called acephalgic migraine. This diagnosis would only fit if he had migraines or a family history of migraines.
ADHD is possible, but so over-diagnosed. And I agree with the psychologists above that it sounds unlikely too. psychiatric illness is on the list of possibilities, but I agree unlikely without any other symptoms. Another possibility could be some type of processing disorder, somewhat like auditory processing or visual processing learning disorder, but based on perception of time. This is not something listed among learning disabilities, and is quite a reach, but I am looking for any possibility. And since these symptoms do not seem to cause him difficulties, it is not clear what could be done to help him when he gets these sensations.
California Pediatric Neurologist, Pediatric Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 11
Experience: 4 years experience, board certified in pediatrics, neurology, and clinical neurophysiology
California Pediatric Neurologist and other Neurology Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for your response.


I appreciate your thorough consideration of possible causes for concern.

So; - seizures, migraine, ADHD, psychiatric illness, processing disorder - all remote possibilities but unlikely given the description, lack of other symptoms or history.


While we will remain alert to other indicators of epilepsy given an incidence in the family, I would be really surprised if my very healthy happy well balanced intelligent capable gorgeous son was affected by any of the other possibilities


I would welcome your comment on the idea that the phenomenon may simply be related to normal growth and development.?

You make no mention of this possibility, yet posts on the forum suggest a number of otherwise normal healthy people who have had similar experiences?


From my son's perspective; reassurance that he is not alone, other people have experienced the same sensations, they are nothing to worry about and will go away as he grows up, would be a great help to him.

I'm really grateful that we had a pediatric neurologist respond to your query - and I agree with his or her assessment... it *could be* a bunch of things - but if it's not really causing any harm, what's the big deal?!


I think this would be fascinating to research someday somehow... but designing the experimental conditions first to replicate and then to control would be a nightmare.


I *do* suspect that it is neurodevelopmental in nature... and will gradually fade (and perhaps disappear entirely) over time.




If I can be of any reassurance to your "very healthy happy well balanced intelligent capable gorgeous son..." let him know that you talked to a nice psychologist online who had the same thing happen to him when he was a little boy... and he's fine today. When he would have those scary feelings, he would ask his mom or dad to help calm him down - and it always worked! Heck, sometimes my mom and dad were smart enough to figure out I was having another "fast feeling" even before I did! And, I suspect that he's lucky enough to have a mom and dad just like I did.


Sometimes I still get little glimmers of that "fast feeling" - and I know what it is - and sometimes it can even be a little bit fun... like riding a roller-coaster. Just like riding a roller-coaster, however, I know the ride will be done soon - and I'll be back on solid ground in no time. You can even tell your son, if you so choose, that he has helped other people to understand the "fast feeling" a little bit better! Now that little-boy-who-grew-up-to-become-a-psychologist can help other little boys when they get the "fast feeling!" Even the psychologist's own little boy, who sometimes gets to ride the roller-coaster himself.




Thanks for writing. No cost!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.


You are a star.

What sensible advice.

I am glad I found you.

Thanks a lot.

All the best


Hello, I should have commented that this could be a totally normal phenomenon without any pathological basis (without any problems). I wanted to consider all possibilities, but you are correct that "normal" is a possibility too. I hope my answer was valuable to you, as your answer is valuable to me. Thanks
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you. Yes it is good to know what all the potential explanations are just to be able to rule them out as likely causes, and also to be relieved that the experiences are not indicative of the onset of something that is 'pathological'. It would be fascinating to know what is happening and why, but the human brain is such a complex system no doubt 'normal' encompasses many things even neurologists can't explain. However from the responses of yourself and Dr Blake I am reassured that it is not something we should be worried about. Which is good! Bye.