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migraine and seizure
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migraine and seizure

Hi there,

I'm a 27yr old female and have had migraines for about 6 yrs now (the migraines are accompanied by a variety of symtoms (symptoms), visual problems + physical weaknesses). Recently (after a week of heavy enough drinking/partying) I collapsed and had some sort of seizure, I was conscious threwout, but couldnt control any part of my body and was unable to speak (I developed some sort of severe stutter/stammer and couldnt get any words out). I couldnt walk for two days after the seizure as I had no control over my legs. I was kept in hospital for a week, I had a CAT scan which came back clear and I believe they ran some blood tests. I was also treated for, I believe, alcohol withdrawal as a precausion, however while in hospital I had another mild seizure and at this point, I believe, they didnt know what was wrong with me. I had had a very pro-longed migraine leading up to the seizure (it lasted about 4 days) and a pain in my neck and shoulder blade (like a "crick" in my neck, it wasnt a severe pain, but intensified up to the seizure). Since leaving hospital (2 mnths ago) I've stopped drinking alcohol altogether but have continued to have very mild and what I can only descibe as "mini seizures". However in the last few days I havent been feeling very well, very exausted and my heart keeps beating suddenly in my chest and yesterday evening I had another full seizure. I dont want to go to my doctor as the last time I went to see him he read the report from the hospital which said my CAT scan was clear and he seemed baffled, which just upset me.
I would very much appreciate any advise you can offer me on this, as my quality of life has been greatly reduced and my family, friends and myself are very worried about these attacks and how to treat them.
Thanks Jessie.
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Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.

Without being able to do a history and exam, I cannot give you a diagnosis of migraine or seizure.  But as you allude, excessive alcohol consumption as well as acute withdrawal from alcohol consumption can both lead to seizures.  Alcohol withdrawal seizures are usual between 1-7 days after stopping alcohol.  That said, if you have a predisposition to seizure, other things can increase the likelihood you may be seizing now (e..g infection, alcohol, lack of sleep, stress, etc).  Just because the CT scan was normal does not definitely mean there is no brain abnormality, nearly all of which can be picked up on MRI and which may be indictated if your story fit.  An EEG is almost assuredly going to important to do if you haven't had one or more already.  An EEG can be normal in a person who has seizures, but often isn't which can help with the diagnosis.  The relationship between migraine and epilepsy is poorly understood but is thought migraine can infrequently represent a type of aura or warning that one is about to have a seizure.  That said, obviously not everyone with migraine headaches is having an aura or is at risk for seizure, however the seizures do occur somewhat more in patients with migraine and visa versa.  

I would try to see a neurologist as soon as your able.  If you have another seizure or something that looks like a seizure, I would strongly consider going to the ER to be evaluated.  If you've been off alcohol for more than a week, I would stay off it as this will otherwise make the reason for your apparent seizures more difficult to assess.  I hope this is helpful.  
3 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn

Thank you so much for your advice, you''ve managed to clear up, alot, for me with your answer.
Just to give you a brief history.
I've only had a CAT scan, this was preformed while I was in hospital and I believe they also ran a few blood tests, but since then (that was over 2 months ago now) I haven't had any other tests or been to my Doctor (I naively believed that all the "little seizures/migraines" were actually part of my recovery until the last large enough seizure. I tried to have a few alcoholic drinks with friends, about a month after leaving hospital but it made me feel very ill, so I've pretty much stayed off alcohol since the initial seizure (which was my first ever seizure). I'm currently not taking any medication as I have no idea what to take as I dont really find pain killers any good.
Prior to the seizure, I frequently suffered from migraines and with these migraines came alot of other symptoms, to name but a few: a weak or very tired right arm, yawning fits (as in, i could yawn 8-10 times per minute for roughly a 5 minute period, blind spots, a feeling as though there is electricity darting around and down the side of my head on the side where the headache is, and also I would frequently get a funny, irritating, feeling as though, I had grit or, a hair, or debris of some sort in my eye on the same side, also id feel as if my teeth were clenching up tight or slightly chattering but this wouldnt be noticable to an on-looker. (I should point out that not all of these symtoms (symptoms) would come at the same time or during every episode).
However my neck and shoulder blade pain/stiffness is a new phenomenon.

I do plan on getting myself checked out properly soon enough and at least now I know there are more tests they can run so hopefully there will be some way to manage these episodes and try to live a "normal" life. I'm actually quiet looking forward to getting some help for this now. (Prior to your answer I was too embarressed to visit my Doctor)

Thank you again, I very much appriciate you educating me on my options.
Thanks Jessie.

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Avatar_m_tn
i have the exact same problem as you.had mri and it showed an abnormality from car acident i was in 30yrs ago.im exactly like you,alcohol is a hugh factor in the seizures.you just have to stop or cut down big time and youll notice the difference
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