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.
Dont Miss: What Can I Give My Cat For Stress
What Does A Stress Seizure Look Like
Typically, the cat will do a bellow or deep meow because they know something isnt feeling right. They feel scared and are asking for help. This follows the cat either lying down or clasping over. They will tense their legs pretty stiffly and followed by this they usually become unresponsive. They may roll their eyes back, have their mouth open, and tense their neck as well. This usually only lasts 20 seconds to a minute long. As they come out of it, they will look exhausted and this is because they are. Some may go to walk only to lay back down after a few feet. It is very important to provide your cat with the opportunity to rest. Make sure they eat and/or drink shortly after this. They may need to rest several hours before they are feeling better so keep things peaceful around them.
Signs and symptoms to look for with serious medical problems:
- No appetite, not eating or drinking
- Wetting themselves before, during, or after the seizure
- Excessive panting
- Signs of stomach or abdomen pain
- Hiding/wanting to be left alone
- Disorientation after the seizure has stopped
- Multiple seizures happening in a short amount of time
When to see a Veterinarian
If your cat is experiences anything from the above list, it is very important to take them to the vet ASAP. Those are common symptoms of Feline Pancreatitis which has a high fatality rate when left untreated.
Physical Issues Associated With Stress That Can Lead To Seizures:
- There is an overlap in the areas of our brain that respond to stress and the areas that contribute to seizures.
- Stress naturally creates an increase in specific hormones that are related directly to our bodys nervous system that directly affect the brain in a way that can contribute to seizures.
- An ongoing period of stress, also called chronic stress, can cause mood problems such as anxiety and depression. These mood problems only contribute to worsening stress, leading to even more problems that increase the chance of a seizure.
- Stress can lead to a lack of sleep or an interrupted sleep cycle. This can trigger a stress-related seizure.
Don’t Miss: Does Stress Cause Eczema Breakouts
Seizures Can Cause Intense Anxiety
Finally, the worry is not just that anxiety causes seizures. The worry for those with epilepsy is that seizures can cause anxiety. Unfortunately, this is a common problem with epileptics for several reasons:
- An epilepsy diagnosis can be very stressful.
- Epileptic seizures can cause intense anxiety.
- Epileptics may live in fear of the next seizure.
- Epilepsy may temporarily alter your brain chemistry in a way that causes more anxiety.
That’s why if you are epileptic, treating both your epilepsy and your anxiety is always a smart idea. The right epilepsy medications can help stop your seizures, but you will still want to make sure that you’re not letting anxiety upset your life – especially since that anxiety you experience may increase your risk of a seizure.
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.
Read Also: What Vitamins To Take For Stress
Don’t Miss: Can Stress Make You Physically Sick
How Is Anxiety Related To Epilepsy
Anxiety can be quite significant in the life of a person with epilepsy. In any medical illness, people may become anxious after the diagnosis of their condition. But anxiety is also related to epilepsy in more specific ways. It can occur not only as a reaction to the diagnosis, but also as a symptom of the epilepsy or as a side effect of seizure medicines.
Is It An Epileptic Seizure Or Something Different
Even people without epilepsy can suffer stress- or anxiety-induced episodes that look similar to an epileptic seizure.
- A panic attack comes on suddenly and usually ends within 10 minutes. Symptoms include a pounding or racing heartbeat, sweating, chills, trembling, difficulty breathing, chest pain and tingling, weakness and dizziness. Most people can retain some level of function during the attack, although this varies by person.
- A psychogenic nonepileptic event , previously referred to as pseudoseizures, may happen with no signs of panic or anxiety. PNEE tends to happen gradually and last longer than a panic attack. Symptoms include jerky movements, tingling, problems with coordination and staring spells, which is why people often suspect epilepsy as the cause.
Even when a panic attack or PNEE looks similar to epilepsy, theres no neurological connection. Testing will help differentiate between the conditions. For all three conditions, counseling, stress-reduction strategies and anti-anxiety medication may be appropriate. However, anti-seizure medication is only effective for epilepsy.
Recommended Reading: Do You Get Paid For Stress Leave
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.
How Can I Decrease My Chances Of Having Seizures From Stress Or Worry
Regardless of the cause, probably the best way to decrease your seizure frequency is to follow your medication schedule very closely. The number one reported cause of increased seizures was missed medications. When you don’t take your seizure medicine or take less than you should, the levels of medication in your body and brain fall. Your brain may begin to show unusual activity, which can lead to seizures.
When stress or worry is a trigger, there are a number of things you could do to lessen the chance of a seizure.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Stress Off Your Mind
How You Feel About Your Diagnosis
Being diagnosed with any condition can cause many different emotions, and can affect many parts of your life. You may be relieved to know what is causing your seizures. Or you may find it hard to come to terms with, particularly if you were previously diagnosed with epilepsy and have now been diagnosed with dissociative seizures.
Being diagnosed with dissociative seizures can also feel quite scary or upsetting because of the stigma around how psychiatric conditions are sometimes viewed. Understanding that dissociative seizures can be your bodys natural way of reacting to stressful situations might be helpful.
There is no right way to feel about your diagnosis, but being able to accept it can be part of helping to improve your seizure control.
You might like to call our confidential helpline to talk about your diagnosis and how you feel about it.
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.
Also Check: How Can I Get Rid Of Stress And Anxiety
What Causes Epileptic Seizures
Epileptic seizures are caused by a disturbance in the electrical activity of the brain . Our brain controls the way we think, move and feel, by passing electrical messages from one brain cell to another. If these messages are disrupted, or too many messages are sent at once, this causes an epileptic seizure.
What happens to the person during the seizure depends on where in the brain the seizure activity happens and what that part of the brain does.
Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with epilepsy who are then assessed at specialist epilepsy centres are found to have NES
This may be partly because epilepsy and NES can look very similar, and can affect people in similar ways. However, the difference between epileptic and non-epileptic seizures is their underlying cause.
Non-epileptic seizures are not caused by disrupted electrical activity in the brain and so are different from epilepsy. They can have a number of different causes.
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
Also Check: How To Improve Stress Management
How To Prevent Anxiety
For people with PNES, identifying the root cause or initial trigger of the seizures is particularly important for successful treatment.
Its a good idea to address any underlying psychiatric conditions you might have. Treating these may reduce or even eliminate your seizures.
Treatment for anxiety-induced seizures, both epileptic and nonepileptic, may include:
- Psychotherapy. Around 50% of people with PNES show improvement after 3 months of therapy. Types include cognitive behavioral therapy and prolonged exposure therapy, which is a type of CBT.
- Mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness may help improve quality of life in people with drug-resistant epilepsy.
- Medication. Many medications have been shown to significantly reduce both anxiety and seizures. These include:
While benzodiazepines are effective at treating anxiety and seizures, they come with some risks. If you take them, you may have a high chance of experiencing dependence and withdrawal.
We recommend exercising caution if youre considering medication. Before taking any, its a good idea to speak with your doctor about the benefits and risks and whether its right for you.
What Medicines Cause Hypothyroidism
Some medications may cause hypothyroidism, including: Amiodarone: Used to treat heart rhythm conditions, this drug has a high iodine content, which can inhibit the synthesis and release of thyroid hormone and also conversion of peripheral conversion of T4 to T3, causing hypothyroidism in 5-20% of the patients.
Recommended Reading: Can Stress Make Eczema Worse
Seasonal Affective Disorder Is A Reality For Many As Winter Approaches Daily Nebraskan
Seasonal affective disorder is a reality for many as winter approaches.
Our findings suggest that the visibility of patient-related aspects such as severe physical comorbidity and also mental comorbidity may establish whether GPs refer constantly clinically seizure meds and depression depressed patients to mental healthcare experts. Evidence for therapy of chronically clinically depressed people with comorbidity is still restricted.
Also Check: What Can I Give My Cat For Stress
The Complex Relationship Between Stress And Seizures
Actress Melanie Griffith recently revealed that she was diagnosed with epilepsy following a string of seizures over a period of 20 years. Speaking at an event to raise awareness for Womens Brain Health Initiative, Griffith said, Every seizure that I had was at a point when I was extremely stressed.
Griffith said she now has her condition under control with medication and hasnt had a seizure in four years, which she partly attributes to the fact that shes not stressed anymore.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3 million adults and 470,000 children in the U.S. have epilepsy, with 150,000 new cases diagnosed every year.
For about half of people with epilepsy, the cause is unknown. In others, there are a few risk factors that are associated with epilepsy, including genetics, head injuries, brain tumors, developmental disorders, and infectious diseases .
Stress, on the other hand, has not been identified as a risk factor for epilepsy, but that doesnt mean there isnt some association between the two.
While stress isnt known to cause epilepsy, its possible it could trigger a seizure in someone who already has epilepsy, Emily Levin, M.D., a neurosurgeon at the University of Michigan who specializes in epilepsy treatment, tells SELF. That said, evidence proving that stress triggers seizures in people with epilepsy is also sparse.
Also Check: Can Itp Be Caused By Stress
How Are Seizures Treated
If you have epilepsy and your seizures are being triggered by stress, you should consider working to decrease or avoid stressful situations. You might also think about working with your doctor to find an effective medication regimen.
There are a number of medications that can be used to control seizures, and additional medications may be appropriate to help you deal with stress, depression, or anxiety. Talk with your doctor or a mental health professional if youre having trouble coping with seizures or daily stress.
If you dont have epilepsy but are experiencing non-epileptic seizures brought on by stress, there are a number of treatments that may help. These include:
- medications to address anxiety or depression
- ruling out physical problems that could be increasing stress
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.
Don’t Miss: Does Stress Cause Memory Issues
How Is Pnes Treated
Unlike neurological seizures, PNES is psychological. Therefore, treatment of any underlying condition is important. Treatment options include:
- Psychotherapy CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a good option for any anxiety-related disorders. CBT enables affected individuals to learn how to cope with anxious or stressful thoughts and feelings. This can reduce the frequency of PNES.
- Medications Antiepileptic drugs cannot help in treating pseudoseizures since the seizures are not neurological. Therefore, Selective Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors are preferred to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
- Lifestyle Changes Various lifestyle changes can minimize exposure to stressful situations and reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Good sleep, daily exercise, a balanced diet, and mindful meditation can reduce anxiety and improve the quality of life.
How Might Stress And Anxiety Cause A Seizure
If you experience seizures, you might find that they become more frequent during particularly stressful times.
Since measuring levels of stress and anxiety can be subjective and vague, theres no clear proof that stress and anxiety directly cause seizures.
However, according to research on the experiences of people with seizures, stress and anxiety can trigger seizures, and current research often underestimates the role they may play.
Lack of sleep is a common trigger for seizures, and this can often happen in people who are experiencing overwhelming stress.
Thats why healthcare professionals recommend keeping a strict sleep schedule as a technique for managing seizures. However, anxiety can disrupt sleep quality and duration.
Even people with well-managed epilepsy may experience a seizure as a result of severe sleep deprivation.
Research indicates that differences in how the brain reacts to increased levels of the hormone cortisol during high anxiety moments may also help explain why stress causes seizures in some people.
Cortisol is a hormone your body produces more of when youre experiencing stress and anxiety.
Recommended Reading: Does Stress Cause Memory Loss
How To Help Someone Having A Seizure
Dont try to restrain the person or stop the jerking. The main thing is to prevent them from injuring themselves. Dont move the person unless they are in danger. Put something soft under their head, remove any sharp or unstable objects from the area and stay with them.
There is no danger they will swallow their tongue. Dont put anything in their mouth and make sure there is no fluid or vomit that could choke them.
Time the seizure and keep an eye on their breathing.
Talk to them calmly to reassure them, until they regain consciousness.
When the seizure stops, put them on their side in the recovery position. If they have vomited or have food or fluid in their mouth put them in the recovery position immediately.
If they fall asleep after the seizure dont disturb them, but keep monitoring their breathing.
Dont let them have anything to eat or drink until the seizure has completely stopped. If possible, someone should go home with them.