Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Can Stress Cause Seizures In Adults

What Does Stress Do To Your Body

Can stress cause seizures? – The Weekly Dose

When you are in a threatening or challenging situation, your brain produces chemicals that cause your adrenal glands to make stress hormones. These hormones make your heart, liver, muscles and other organs ready to take action. This is sometimes called the fight-or-flight response. Its a normal reaction that allows you to stay focused and motivated, cope with challenges, and escape from harmful situations, if necessary.

Once the pressure or threat has passed, your stress hormone levels will usually return to normal. However, if you’re constantly under stress, these hormones will remain in your body, leading to the symptoms of stress. For some people, long-term stress can lead to:

  • Heart problems

It can also make you more vulnerable to infection.

For more information about the long-term effects of stress see the PsychCentral website.

Symptoms Of Nocturnal Seizures

Nocturnal seizure symptoms can be difficult to recognize as they occur when the affected person is asleep. However, if youre more aware of the signs of nocturnal seizure you will be more likely to pick up on their occurrence. The following are some of the most common consequences and what do nocturnal seizures look like.

  • Inability to concentrate: Having difficulty concentrating and focusing during awake hours could be a nocturnal seizure sign. This is partly due to the fact that having seizures while sleeping greatly reduces the time spent in deep sleep leading to negative effects on your health and lifestyle.
  • Involuntary movement: This is characterized by abnormal movements during sleep. Some individuals suffering from nocturnal seizures wake up multiple times during the night due to thrashing movements of the arms and/or legs that they have no control over. Patients often are jarred awake and left in a state of disorientation and confusion.
  • Tongue biting and incontinence: Both hallmark signs of suffering from a seizure episode which could be exacerbated in cases of nocturnal seizure disorder. While sleeping, all of your bodily muscles are relaxed which could make you more susceptible to wetting the bed. Sometimes certain muscle groups can rigorously contract when suffering from a seizure, if this happens to the jaw muscles you could easily bite your tongue.
  • Other symptoms of nocturnal seizures:
  • Signs of sleeplessness drooling, headache, and vomiting

Acute Stress In Epilepsy

Acute stress is defined here as the biological and psychological sequelae associated with any threatening stimulus presented for a short and distinct period. In this review, we consider any acute stressor that is presented at a certain interval and on multiple occasions to be an acute repetitive stressor due to it subsiding for periods between subsequent exposures, unlike a chronic stressor which is continuously present. For simplicity, we only discuss acute stimuli that are associated with either a psychogenic or neurogenic stress effects, excluding stimuli that would not induce the biological stress response in non-epileptic animals and humans . In non-human animals, acute stress may be induced by restraint, foot-shock, or forced swimming . Similarly, acute stress can be brought on by a variety of experiences in people with epilepsy, including sudden loss of a loved one, accidents, or less emotionally salient experiences like arguments and difficult interviews . In this section, we discuss the effects of both acute stress and acute repetitive stress on epileptogenesis, the process by which a normal brain becomes chronically prone to seizures, and seizure susceptibility in people with epilepsy and in animal models of epilepsy.

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How Are Absence Seizures Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider will ask about your health conditions and what medicines you take. Tell the provider when the seizures began. If possible, bring someone with you who saw you have a seizure. The person can tell healthcare providers what happened during your seizure, how long it lasted, and how you acted after. Tell your healthcare provider about any family history of seizures and any recent illness or trauma. You may also need any of the following:

  • An EEG records the electrical activity of the brain. It is used to find changes in the normal patterns of brain activity. The EEG may be repeated over time to check how well treatment is working.
  • CT or MRI pictures may be used if absence seizures continue even with treatment. This is done to check for other problems that may be causing the episodes. You may be given contrast liquid to help parts of your brain show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Never enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider about any metal in or your body.

Can Anxiety Cause Epilepsy

fmspaceanddesign: Seizures Caused By Stress And Anxiety

Stress is one of the most commonly cited seizure triggers among people with epilepsy.

A 2017 review of studies suggests that higher levels of stress and anxiety are associated with a greater likelihood of experiencing epileptic seizures.

The same review also notes that reducing stress levels can significantly improve outcomes for people with epilepsy, suggesting a close relationship between stress and epilepsy.

But whether anxiety can alter brain function enough to directly cause epilepsy is largely still up in the air. The evidence so far isnt conclusive.

One 2015 study found that 5 out of 1,000 people with epilepsy started experiencing seizures after a highly stressful life event, such as the death of a family member.

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Anxiety Can Cause Seizures In Those With Epilepsy

If you have already been diagnosed with epilepsy then yes, anxiety can cause seizures. Severe stress is a very common seizure trigger, and those with severe anxiety often experience severe stress.

However, it should be noted that this is far more common with those who already have epilepsy. It is very rare for someone to have their first seizure as a result of anxiety. Those who already have epilepsy are usually aware of the risks.

Similarly, the age groups are very different. Most people have their first panic attacks in their early to mid-twenties . They may also have panic attacks as a response to pregnancy or stress.

Epileptics tend to have their first seizures while very young – usually as infants, or as the result of head trauma, or as they reach retirement age. Developing epilepsy between the ages of adolescence and adulthood is exceedingly rare.

So while anxiety can cause seizures, it is very rare for anxiety to cause seizures in those that do not already know they have a seizure disorder.

Chronic Stress And Seizure Occurrence In Humans

People with epilepsy often report that everyday stressful events are the most common triggers of seizures . A vast majority of the clinical studies investigating whether stress causes seizures are retrospective and confounded by patient self-reporting of seizures and the various types of stressful events leading to intrinsic bias. Although there are prospective studies investigating the effect of chronic stress on seizure occurrence, we believe that the results of these studies can be misleading due to difficulty determining whether the increase in seizures is due to the stressor or another confound that could also be stressful yet difficult to measure, such as sleep deprivation, alcohol use, poor diet, mismanaged medication, or mood disorders . Nevertheless, these clinical studies have provided valuable information regarding the relationship of stress, psychological health, and epilepsy. There is only a small subset of clinical studies investigating the effects of chronic stress on seizure susceptibility with the consistent finding that chronic stress is proconvulsive.

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How Does Stress Trigger Seizures

We arent sure just why stress may trigger a seizure. Stress is an expected and unavoidable part of life. It is our body’s reaction to any change that requires a physical and emotional response. Stress is known to cause worry, depression, frustration and even anger. Stress may affect people in many ways. Consider the following:

  • Stress makes or releases certain hormones related to the nervous system that can impact the brain.
  • Areas of the brain important for some types of seizures, for example partial seizures, are the same areas of the brain involved in emotions and responding to stress.
  • Stress can cause problems sleeping which is also a seizure trigger.
  • Chronic stress can lead to anxiety or depression. Sleep problems are symptoms of these mood problems. Being anxious and depressed can also worsen stress, causing a vicious cycle with more seizures and mood problems.

Alcohol Poisoning And Withdrawal

Epilepsy Specialist Discusses Seizure Triggers

Alcohol poisoning, or an alcohol overdose, is when you drink a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time. This can cause alterations in your fluid and electrolyte levels, resulting in seizures.

Alcohol withdrawal may also trigger a first-time seizure.

Heavy alcohol use can depress the central nervous system. Suddenly reducing alcohol consumption will affect the nervous system and can cause a seizure.

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Can Anxiety Cause Seizures

A seizure is a brief period of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain that can provoke a wide variety of changes in the body. Epilepsy is a chronic condition that causes unpredictable, recurrent seizures.

Seizures can be caused by a variety of triggers, including increased stress and anxiety. In fact, according to the British Epilepsy Association , stress is one of the most commonly self-reported seizure triggers in people with epilepsy.

Research has also shown that even in people without epilepsy, stress and anxiety can trigger whats known as psychogenic nonepileptic seizures , or pseudoseizures. PNES are physiologically different from the neurological seizures found in epilepsy.

Pseudoseizures arent the same type of neurological seizures that are caused by uncontrolled activity in the brain. Instead, PNES are an extreme response to stress and anxiety and are therefore considered psychiatric in nature.

According to the literature , PNES are classified as a type of functional neurological disorder , or conversion disorder. Conversion disorders are triggered by emotional stress that causes physical symptoms that cant be explained by other underlying conditions.

PNES most often occur in people who struggle to manage stress, anxiety, or other traumatic emotions through traditional coping strategies. When these emotions become overwhelming enough, the body may shut down as a defense mechanism. In some people, this can present as a PNES.

Neuroinflammation And Chronic Stress In Epilepsy

A major goal in epilepsy research is to determine the key events that occur in the brain after an injury, such as stroke, trauma, prolonged febrile seizures or status epilepticus that predispose it to develop spontaneous recurrent seizures. Rational therapeutic intervention for epilepsy requires an understanding of the mechanisms responsible for epileptogenesis. Despite successes in developing therapies for existing epilepsies, our understanding of the sequence of events, such as those after a brain injury that causes a normal brain to become epileptic is lacking. There are very limited clinical cases reporting the pathology of brain tissue with regard to inflammatory mediators in humans however, serum levels of inflammatory mediators such as interleukin-1 beta and high mobility group box 1 have been shown to correlate with seizure severity in children with febrile seizures . Additional evidence of a potential role of inflammatory mediators in epilepsy is derived from clinical studies wherein inflammatory mediators were measured in the cerebrospinal fluid of 14 epileptic patients with severe seizures and compared to 14 patients with other neurological diseases . Although human studies investigating the relationship between neuroinflammation and seizures are ongoing, the vast majority of information on this subject comes from numerous animal studies.

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What Increases The Chance Of Having A Seizure

A seizure happens when there is a change in our brains levels of excitability that causes chemical imbalances. These imbalances cause neurons to begin firing abnormally. When this happens, it becomes unmanageable and can result in a seizure. There are many things that can alter our brains excitability and lead to a seizure. These include:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • An increase in alcohol or drug consumption
  • Menstrual changes
  • Stress

When Should I Call An Ambulance

Can Stress Cause Seizures: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments ...
  • the seizure continues for more than 5 minutes or a second seizure quickly follows the first
  • the person remains unresponsive for more than 5 minutes after a seizure stops
  • the person has been injured
  • the person has diabetes or is pregnant
  • you know, or believe it to be the person’s first seizure
  • there is food, vomit or fluid in the mouth

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Other Forms Of Treatment

Psychotherapy is the recommended treatment for dissociative seizures. Psychotherapy is the name for a group of different talking therapies . Mental health professionals, including psychiatrists and psychologists, are trained in different forms of psychotherapy.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is often recommended. CBT looks at how you think about things, how this affects you physically and emotionally, and how it affects what you do . By changing the way you think about things, such as how you think about yourself, other people, and the world around you, this may change the way that you behave. CBT tends to focus on how things ar affecting you in the present, and ways to help you to view current situations more positively, and cope with stressful events.

CBT can take several months or longer as it may take time for you to feel comfortable talking about your experiences and feelings.

See more about epilepsy treatment.

What Are Pseudoseizures

Scientists and healthcare professionals usually put seizures into one of two categories: epileptic and nonepileptic. The difference between the two lies in their causes.

Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures , or dissociative seizures, used to be called pseudoseizures. Theyre usually triggered by a particularly emotional or stressful event or by chronic underlying psychological distress.

Divorce, the death of a loved one, and sexual abuse are examples of events that are commonly associated with PNES.

PNES and anxiety are closely intertwined because a seizure can be a reaction to trauma. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, about half of people with PNES are living with post-traumatic stress disorder .

During a PNES, you may experience:

  • uncontrolled movements

Youre more likely to experience PNES if you:

Four out of five people with PNES have had a psychiatric disorder at some point in their lives.

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What Are The Symptoms

Although dissociative seizures start as an emotional reaction, they cause a physical effect. Features of the seizure can include palpitations , sweating, a dry mouth, and hyperventilation .

Some features of dissociative seizures are very similar to epileptic seizures. These physical features may include loss of awareness, loss of sensation, and loss of control of bodily movement.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Seizure

How can people with Epilepsy handle stress WITHOUT getting Seizures???

Seizures can cause changes in movement, sensation, awareness, thought or behaviour, depending on which part of the brain the seizure affects. Some seizures involve only part of the brain others involve the whole brain.

Before a seizure you may have an aura a feeling that forewarns a seizure is coming. An aura may involve odd smells, feelings of deja-vu , tingling, vision disturbances, or fear or joy. This aura is actually the first part of a seizure.

During the seizure, the symptoms experienced depend on the type of seizure. A person may be alert during the seizure, and able to remember it afterwards, or may not remember it at all.

Symptoms of seizures include:

  • eye blinking or eyes rolling upwards

Motor symptoms can include:

  • stiffening movements this may cause a person to fall
  • jerking movements
  • alternate stiffening and jerking
  • floppiness and loss of muscle tone this may also cause a person to fall
  • tremor or shaking
  • sudden nod of the head
  • strange postures
  • repetitive movements, such as lip smacking or chewing

Most seizures last for less than 2 or 3 minutes and will stop on their own, without any treatment.

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What Is A Seizure

A seizure is a burst of electrical activity in your brain. A seizure may start in one part of your brain, or both sides may be affected. The seizure may last a few seconds or up to 5 minutes. A new-onset seizure is a seizure that happens for the first time. You have a higher risk for another seizure within the next 2 years.

Nes That Have An Organic Cause

These seizures have a physical cause . They include fainting and seizures with metabolic causes such as diabetes.

Because organic NES have a physical cause, they may be relatively easy to diagnose and the underlying cause can be found. For example, a faint may be diagnosed as being caused by a physical problem in the heart. In these cases, if the underlying cause can be treated the seizures will stop.

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What To Expect At Your Office Visit

A person who has had a new or severe seizure is usually seen in a hospital emergency room. The provider will try to diagnose the type of seizure based on the symptoms.

Tests will be done to rule out other medical conditions that cause seizures or similar symptoms. This may include fainting, transient ischemic attack or stroke, panic attacks, migraine headaches, sleep disturbances, and other possible causes.

Tests that may be ordered include:

  • Blood and urine tests

Things That Can Trigger A Seizure Even If You Don’t Have Epilepsy

Seizures in adults with no history can be caused by a ...

A surge of electrical activity in the brain can happen to anyone under the right circumstances.

Harrison Ford has played a hero in the movies, but in real life, he gives that distinction to his 26-year-old daughter, Georgia. Earlier this month, the actor revealed that Georgia has epilepsy, and that it took years for her to get the proper treatment. I admire her perseverance, her talent, her strength, he told the Daily News.

Epilepsy isnt always easy to identify. The disorder typically isnt diagnosed until a person has had two or more unprovoked seizuresthat is, seizures that dont have a clear trigger, explains Vikram Rao, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco.

It turns out there are multiple things that can trigger a seizure, which is essentially a surge of electrical activity in the brain. And just because you have one, that doesnt mean youve got epilepsy. But you should always get checked out by a doctor afterwards, says Dr. Rao.

Here, six things that are known to trigger seizures even in people who dont have a neurological conditionand what to do when a seizure strikes.

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