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Can your personality change after having Epilepsy?

Sat, 02/01/2020 - 06:33
So I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy back in 2011, right after graduating High School. After 9 years, I have come to realize that this medical condition has changed me (for the worst). My personality is completely different. I am LITERALLY like a Psychopath. Please don't judge me when I list the symptoms, as I can't control this... Lack of empathy or remorse, aggression, manipulative behavior, "superficial charm" (It's all an act), narcissism, addictive behavior, etc. etc. I also have grand mal seizures too. But it's kinda rare that I have them. I was NOT like this during High School. AT ALL. Can Epilepsy change your personality?


Hi John,Good question.  I’m

Submitted by birdman on Sat, 2020-02-01 - 21:14
Hi John,Good question.  I’m 54 years old and have had epilepsy all my life. It sounds like you are asking the same question that I have been all of my life--Are my problems truly the result of my epilepsy, or could I be a better person if I really tried?There sure seems to be a connection, but doctors are very slow to acknowledge any link.  It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I faced an epilepsy specialist who (carefully)said they were finding out that there seemed to be a link.  The connection shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows a little about brain anatomy as the temporal lobe amygdala is known to be responsible for emotions.  So why are doctors so slow to admit the link?One reason for confusion is that it is hard to judge or test whether the personality / behavioral problems are a direct result of the neurological impairment, or whether these can be side effect of the drugs used to treat the seizures.  After trying sixteen medications in my life I have definitely found that taking more meds have worsened my problems.  This is why I prefer to live on the edge of having seizures. It’s a tough choice: seizures or side effects.  Another common problem common for persons with epilepsy is depression.  Depression is a real problem caused by an imbalance in brain chemicals.  The American Psychiatric Association describes depression as “a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.”  With this understanding it can be seen why it is difficult to judge the cause of our problems.  Don’t be afraid or feel foolish to ask about depression and seek treatment.  It helps.So when did you notice your personality changes?  What medications have you tried?  Were there changes with the medications?  As always I recommend persons with epilepsy to take greater control of their condition by keeping record of seizures, medications, doctor visits, tests, and anything else that may seem relevant your health including serious emotional problems.  This has helped me to relate what may be linked to medication and seizures.  We need to try our hardest to be the best we can be, but don't be mad at ourselves for the negative ways we behave.  It's a hard balance and I wish you the best.Mike

Hi, Thank you for posting, it

Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 2020-02-03 - 09:03
Hi, Thank you for posting, it sounds like you've been through a lot. it’s important to remember that you are not alone, and we are here to help support you. If you ever need to speak with someone please contact our Epilepsy and Seizures 24/7 Helpline, where trained information specialists are available to answer your questions, offer help, connect you to resources, provide referrals and additional support. 1-800-332-1000, or  One of the most important things to help you live with epilepsy and seizures is to find a support network. Learn more about your community support options here: Michael has offered some wonderful advice and suggestions in his comment and as he mentioned we cannot determine if your change in personality as you describe is related to your epilepsy or individual treatment plan. To learn more about challenges with moods and behaviors associated with epilepsy, visit:'s important that you’re expressing your concerns with your healthcare team to review this further and if you experience any changes in moods, behaviors, side effects, symptoms,  seizure types/frequency to help determine what individual treatment plan is best for you.We know that living with epilepsy is more than just knowing your type of seizures or what medicine to take. Living with seizures also means learning how to handle the way epilepsy affects your life including your physical well-being, social and emotional health. You may want to consider keeping a journal or diary. My Seizure Diary: a great tool for identifying & tracking seizures, setting reminders, managing medications& side effects, recording medical history, moods, behaviors, triggers, and other therapies or personal experiences, that may affect seizures and wellness, which can be shared with your healthcare team. Additionally, you may want to consider participating in treatment, seizure and lifestyle management programs, which can help people-with epilepsy learn skills to better manage their epilepsy and its effects on daily life: For more information, skills and resources that will help you manage seizures and epilepsy more easily, visit: 

Hi John,2 days ago, Michael

Submitted by irangel on Tue, 2020-02-04 - 01:55
Hi John,2 days ago, Michael did a beautiful response to your post.  He mentioned that he was an epileptic his entire life and he stated, "after trying sixteen medications in my life (as a 54 years old, he writes) I have definitely found that taking more meds have worsened my problems."I'm a 55 year old women, who was diagnosed as an epileptic at the age of an 18 month old toddler.  And, in contrast to Michael, I have only taken anti-seizures drugs for only 3 months (i.e., Phenobarbital) as a toddler and, then, latter on, as a young child.  Yet, just like Michael, he and I have realized that the lesser amount of drugs was best for our situation.Epilepsy is very complex, what is an answer for a few, shall not be the answer for many.  Epilepsy is a challenge for each and everyone that has been broadly diagnosed with this ever spanning neurological problem.  Over the last 3 decades of my life, I was able to pinpoint what triggers my seizures.  The culprit has been calcium carbonate, found in many common products and food  (e.g., mortar mix, latex paint, cat litter, nitrile/vinyl/latex gloves, sparkling mineral water, champagne, beer, charred bread/food).  Go do your own research on the web by googling 'calcium seizures' in the many internet browsers of your choice and you will find what has triggered my seizures......unfortunately, this may or may not be the underlying causes of your seizures.What emphasizes and, so does Michael, you must keep a diary so you, as an epileptic, can back track to what triggered your seizure and frustration levels.  I have found when my calcium level gets above 9.7, my frustration level increases (I now realize this as an early warning system, whereby, if I ignore it, will turn into full blown grande mal seizure.)As an epileptic, you must spoil yourself.  You must remind yourself that no one is more important than you.  It is a very daunting life, yet you hold the answers for our many fellow epileptics that share the same common thread.....that thread of despair and hope within all of us.Irma

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