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Stress induced seizures and weird smells
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Stress induced seizures and weird smells

My husband woke me up this morning smelling something weird (that I didn't smell) and talking incoherently.  About 5 minutes later, he said he didn't remember(2 minute span or so).  He has had a very stressful week, though he is an extremely stressed person in general.  He even said he had a panic attack a couple of days ago (he has them often) and a severe pin-pointed headache.  He mentioned that this mornings episode felt like one of his panic attacks.  Could he be having stress-induced seizures?  What do you think is going on with him?
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I am a physcian, but not a neurologist.

What you are describing sounds like a type of seizure known as "partial complex seizure."  A brief - usually just a few seconds - of altered mental status, often with visual, auditory, olfactory, or taste hallucinations.

Here are some links to read on:

http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/seizure_complexpartial.html

http://www.neurologychannel.com/seizures/types.shtml

http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/answerplace/Medical/seizures/types/partialSeizures/complexpartial.cfm

Your husband needs to be seen for this.  First to rule out any more severe cause for new onset seizures - like illness or tumor, and then to establish what is going on, possibly needing medication.

There is definitely a link between panic attacks and partial seizures, that is it is not uncommon for a person who is having partial complex seizure to be misdiagnosed as having panic attacks.  The mainfestations may look the same.  Here's a link to that:

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1120028

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/321/7267/1002

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0999/is_7267_321/ai_66881328

I was not aware of this previously, but I found dozens of articles describing the problems of confusing partial (complex) seizures with panic attacks.  This type of seizure when it is simple and doesn't alter the consciousness can present as terror - and thus terrify the person.

Bottom line, as I ramble on, get your hubby checked.  You may find that, by treating a seizure, you may be able to rid him of much of his anxiety and the panic attacks.  Wouldn't that be sweet!

Please respond and then come back and tell us what you found out.  Quix MD
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I will definetely do that.  Thank you SO MUCH for your info!
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