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Panic attacks that are actually seizures

Hi all!

 Wow, to say I've been on a journey is an understatement.  I've suffered from what I thought was panic/anxiety attacks for coming on 7 years.  I'm 27 years old and this has without a doubt partially taken over my life from the sheer fear of it all. Problem I have is I don't really remember what happens during them only that I swallow a lot, cant recall the finer details (sort of memory loss), It can feel like de javu (especially if Im listen to someone talk, or watching TV) I'm petrified from them and I freeze and cant talk properly.  I cant seem to get any normal words out.. such as "Hang on I'm having a funny turn!" but I cant and if I do manage to talk it makes absolutely no sense. 

Now for years I've gone to doctors who hand me print outs of GAD or panic attack sheets, they've tried to put me on anti-depressants.  Which i've refused as I'm not depressed just bloody confused. Often doctors sat there with a blank expression thinking I was tapped... which as many of you will know that makes you feel so much worse.  Being honest I can feel pretty shook up after an attack (which tend to happen in the morning or when i'm partially awake) so I'm probably quite anxious from it all.

 Now finally after finding a good doctor, who also discovered I had PCOS (polycystic ovaries), she said she'd get a 24 hours heart rate check and also send me to a neurologist.  Purely to clear in my mind and that way I could stop worrying.  so, I went for my neurologist appointment on Friday.  There was the neurologist and a nurse present, I was asked to explain exactly what happens during my attacks.  I firstly said it was probably panic attacks and that this was just to confirm with myself it was that.  I explain exactly what happens during an attack... de javu, swallowing, cant remember, etc etc.  I then had to go through to the other room and my reflexes were tested, he watched me walk, and looked into my eyes with a torch.  

After this I went through and sat down waiting for his verdict... by how he acted with me I was totally expecting him to say I was just having anxiety/panic attacks.  he didnt.  "You're experiencing complex partial seizures'  - my reaction was "Pardon?!"  

There and then was a bit of a blur as I was baffled... why hadnt this been sorted before? was my first thoughts.  He said there and then I needed to inform DVLA and also did I want medication there and then.  That was the most confusing part... how did he know for sure?  would his reflex tests etc have shown him? I did say no and that I wanted the brain scan he was refering me for.  My sheets had ASAP all over them. 

 Part of me wants to be confirmed with seizures as I can finally get on with my life, the other part doesn't because I will have this for life.   Also if it isn't that if im just having panic attacks/ anxiety attacks then what the hell is it? 

 

Anyone else had a similar experience?  Any advice? 

 xx

 

 

Comments

Re: Panic attacks that are actually seizures

Hi, wow--as you can see from my recent post in this same forum, I have very unusual seizures as well. Mine consist of intense deja vu which suddenly morphs into almost complete amnesia, with a feeling of terror and repetitive asking of orienting questions, such as Where am I? Who am I? It's interesting that we both have such unusual experiences, and also, I have PCOS as well. I hope for your sake that your doctor is incorrect but it sounds like he's pretty confident and if so, rest assured that they know a great deal about how to treat seizures by now, and wouldn't it be great if they could get rid of your panic attacks? I would sure love to stop these attacks. All the best.

Re: Panic attacks that are actually seizures

I have a similar experience. About 4 years ago I started having episodes of sudden, almost paralyzing fear, for a moment I felt out of sorts, in panic, shaken, I felt this was growing and growing and then I had experienced something I would describe as a "brain shock", and after that I would slowly return to normal. I dreaded these "attacks" and my anxiety level got out of control. After seeing my physician he ordered anti depressant, muscle relaxant and a therapy with a shrink. I've been seeing the psychiatrist for a few months and took the meds for 1 year. I still experienced some discomfort but slept better and felt it was under control more less. Than I got pregnant and stopped taking drugs. 4 months into pregnancy - I started acting like crazy in my sleep. I was talking outloud but all nonsense, I was jumping on a bed, swinging my arms, breathing heavily, sometimes urinating in my sleep. I thought it must be a hormonal thing. My physician had no idea. It did not stop after I had my son, only gotten worse. He was 3 months when I had my first full-blown seizure - screamed, dropped on the floor, eyes rolling, jagged movements, total amnesia, problems with balance and talking after the attack. Book case. After that my doc finally started to connect the dots. We did MRI, EEG - all normal. But I still has the episodes (partial seizures) pretty much every week. Didn't sleep well, felt awful. My neurologist decided to put me on Kepra 500 mg 2x daily. It made things much better. I've been taking it for 2 months now, slightly increased the dose, don't feel perfect but at lest I know what it is I was having in the first place. I was never depressed - I have just been having seizures!
I wonder if I can ever get it under control completely to the point I don't have this episodes at all, be seizure-free? I don't want to take the meds the rest of my life...

Re: Panic attacks that are actually seizures

     Being on medicines all of my life, there was a time when for 10 months a doctor of mine said to me I could go off all my seizure medicine which was just phenobarbital at that time. Once I got off of taking 180 mgs of that in 3 months, the next 10 months after that was the best 10 months I ever had in my life. I am close now to having another time of no seizure drugs in my life as i can rember those 10 months as if they were yesterday. STRESS occured after 10 months as I lost my job then as the STRESS of losing that job created my 3rd ever grand mal after my 2nd one 20 years before the 3rd one. From age 10 to age 30 things were tollerable with petit mals / auras. STRESS had some causes for those too as I was not on the best medcines for seizures in those years. All I can say is look for a pattern or patterns when you eat & drink foods & drinks, and when you take notices of different changes medicnes may cause as well. There are always dots to connect in most cases people have if people are commitied enough to look for the patterns and possible root causes of the seizures that are happening.

Re: Panic attacks that are actually seizures

Complex partial seizures are temporal lobe epilepsy.  It's extremely common.  Over 2/3 of patients with epilepsy have their seizures completely controlled with medication.  It might take a few drugs to find out which ones work.  The only ones who know for 100% sure are the epileptologists, but from the symptoms you described, it looks like epilepsy.  It's nothing to worry about.  If this is the cause of your 'panic attacks', then they might be solved.  You could be getting your life under control again. 

If you still disagree, see another neurologist.

Re: Panic attacks that are actually seizures

You could have described what I have been through exactly. I did nto go to drs though until it got really bad and I ended up in hospitals. At times, I still believe they are panic attacks and I have had EEG and VEEG with no luck on result. I have brain injury as well. I have always thought them physcological issues however, last one really I cannot understand what I was actually doing to achieve these things.

I am now on med and also watching certain things I do and also sleep patterns. I am glad someone sent you to a neurologist. Maybe you need MRI and further testing to?

Re: Panic attacks that are actually seizures

Hi there
I went through exactly the same thing and Your description of what happens is exactly the same as me and what it turned out to be was partial seizures. Years ago I started to get dizzy spells that started off with a few a day then escalated to up to 9 a day and then dropped away over the next couple of days. I was told it was anxiety which I had already been put on Prozac for. When I upped my Prozac my diZy spells doubled. It took me 4 years to document, research and figure it out for myself in the end. By the time I figured out that it was epilepsy, I had a full seizure one month later and the professionals finally listened. I have catemenial epilepsy that gives me a week of seizures every month. The feeling is a deja vu one, I can hear what someone is saying but can't form the words to talk back. My body feels like it is experiencing physical anxiety but with no mental anxiety thoughts. It passes in about 1 minute and takes about another 2 or 3 mins to come round properly.

Hope that helps in your search for answers :)

Re: Panic attacks that are actually seizures

  First of all I am not a know it all. I do however see patterns in my own life when I eat foods that have additives in them.  Additives like  Nitrates that can give migrane headaches and MSG aka MonoSodiumGlutamte can also trigger Grand Mal seizures. Other additives like MSG that can trigger stress and seizures are Carrageenan, Yeast Extract, Whey / Soy Protein Concentrates & Isolates, and gums. Never reject Aspartame that are found in diet sodas and yogurts. All I suggest is look a any type of pattern from any source or possible cause. The food industries can make any person with or with out a seizure condition feel stressed out and have panic attacks. My own brain goes crazy when part the problem it canhave is having a Grand Mal when I would by mistake eat or drink anything with those additives and more in them. www.truthinlabeling.org  www.msgtruth.org  www.mpwhi.com  There's a start for maybe finding your root problem to your condition. Once you look for a pattern ''if there is one'' you can detect then what to avoid ot not be concerned about but beware. As I have learned some things can have ISOLATES in them which are 10% of what a CONCENTRATE is when you may thin it maight be safe to have, but then later, you learn it is not. Of course that is my brain talking here, but that does not mean someone else cannot suffer the same or similar way as things have happened for me over the years.  In the next 2 weeks it will be 17 months that my life has bee grand mal seizure free from the reason being I have not allowed any food additives in my body to set of a grand mal seizure. I also give God the credit for giving me the wisdom I have to protect my precious brain he is helping me to protect. Take it all for what it is worth. having living 16 months with out no grand mals is priceless.

Re: Panic attacks that are actually seizures

Um, wow...our stories are eerily parallel. I ended up having to demand a referral to a neuro and thank God I did because in addition to temporal lobe epilepsy with complex partial seizures, it was also determined that I had a pre-cancerous brain tumor. I ended up having my tumor removed as well as a temporal lobe resection but it turns out I also have generalized anxiety disorder. I get the best of both :-) I am SO glad you were properly diagnosed!

I had a grand mal seizure 10

I had a grand mal seizure 10 years ago, and was put on lamictal. Over the years even though I’ve never had a grand mal since, I have the same symptoms you have before my “episodes” that are diagnosed as partial seizures. I hate Lamictal because it gives me depression and anxiety and depletes my body of folic acid which is not good if I want to have children(I’m a 25 yr old woman). So my new neurologist put me on extended release Keppra which has been amazing. Doesn’t hurt my body and is the best one for women. I’m tapering off  Lamictal now and taking low dose Xanax whenever I feel an anxiety rush through my system because anxiety can trigger seizures. Maybe you’re gettjng partial seizures from stress/ anxiety? That is what causes mine. Hope this helps.

I'm going through the same

I'm going through the same thing right now. Im currently with a neurologist and being tested for partial seizures. It makes a lot of sense if I were to look back on my mental and physical history but it's a tough pill to swallow. There are things that are helping them distinguish the difference between panic and seizure and they are:  I have auditory  hallucinations I smell bizarre things before handMemory loss And the physical pain that comes with it is quite immense. It starts in the back of my neck and travels up through my brain like a stream line of liquid fire or something intensely cold. I hope you find an answer for yourself. I don't wish this upon anyone Lisa

I have had what I have always

I have had what I have always believed to be panic attacks as well and I started reading and I kept finding things that I deal with either on a daily basis or very often and I don’t know what to think of it because any doctor I’ve ever been to about literally anything has said nothing was wrong without doing many tests and now that I’m reading all of this it’s kindve scary I’m 17 and have dealt with “panic attacks” for as long as I can remember but reading all this is kindve like “oh that would explain a lot” I don’t know what to do about it though

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