Epilepsy Community
1.82k Members
Avatar universal

epilepsy or anxiety?

Here is my dilema.  Several years ago I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.  Since before I had been diagnosed I had little episodes every few months where I felt deja vu, dizzy, etc. Went to a neurologist where tests were ran, including an EEG and other simple diagnostic tests like standing on my heels and walking, etc. and nothing was found to be wrong.
Fast forward 8-9 years to this November.  One day I had a few of those episodes as was common for me every few weeks.  Went to bed that night and woke up with paramedics in my bedroom.  Apparently I had a seizure, and fallen out of bed.  At the hospital they did x-rays on my back because it was hurting, blood tests, an EEG, an MRI, a heart stress test, an ultrasound on my heart, and an EKG.  All of the tests came back normal.  There was a slight concern about my EKG because my pulse rate was high but I was very anxious and in a ton of pain.  
At my follow up with my primary care doc, I was given a prescription of Zoloft for my anxiety.  I was to come back in a few weeks for a follow up.  The night before my appointment I had another seizure.  This one not as bad but 911 was called again.  The doctor prescribed some buspirone anxiety med and told me to take it with my zoloft but only at night, not 3 times a day like the directions say.  He told me he thinks this is anxiety related based on my past.  The symptoms of my seizures are similar to a grand mal seizure.  I am alert when its over, both times I have bit the side of my tongue (I find myself clenching down on my tongue even when I am awake), and both times it has happened a couple of hours after I go to bed, exactly 4 weeks apart.
Any thoughts or suggestions as to if this truly could be anxiety related?
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi Jeff, I had a similar episode, I also had a raw feeling in my body and feelings of things moving slowly and me moving fast or the other way around and the ground moving under me like vertigo, I felt like things also had a strobe like effect under bright lights,  I also suffered with Trigeminal neuralgia in the past that had gone away years ago but now it returned, with these other symptoms, I had the tests you had and also nothing was found, in-spite of this my doctor started me on (Carbamazepine)  Tegretol 100 x 1 per day then 1 x  200 and I was feeling normal within days.
My neurologist told me I had a form of epilepsy that is primarily brought on by anxiety or stress, he told, I have a sensitive nervous system and, I did not necessarily have a depression or problems to bring it on as stress can be caused by noise or allergies or anything really, as he put it we are not all generic people and what will cause even stress we are unaware of may not cause it in others, we are all individuals and if I felt I was coping and not depressed I probably wasn't depressed, he also told me that coke some energy drinks and some anti depressants can cause anxiety or stress as they contain espartain and this excites the nervous system and can bring on a seizure, I hope this helps you, good luck, God bless. Mag
Avatar universal
Didn't anyone ever suggest seeing a specialist for non-epileptic seizures caused by anxiety disorder? I  know because I have same problem and it is alot of work fighting to
get on track to keep a stable life style.  
Avatar universal
Thanks for the input everyone, to answer your question Susanmarie873, part of the problem is that I didnt realize these episodes of dizziness and deja vu could be seizures.  It just didnt cross my mind until I had the big one that landed me in the hospital.  I just always thought it was an anxiety attack or something.

mags2, I was actually thinking about the aspartame stuff they put in diet foods and drink.  I didnt realize that most chewing gum has that sut fin it too.  It so happens I was chewing a lot of gum around the time I had my seizure.

1260255 tn?1288654564
I'm resurrecting this old thread and hope to get some advice on what kind of testing should be run for my sister, who had a seizure like episode (described below)., as well as what kind of questions she should be asking her neurologist.

Sis is 46 years old with no history of seizures. She was involved in several work related accidents that have been covered by workers comp, which her employer is now claiming is exhausted. She is partially disabled as a result of these injuries and has endured what can only be described as a hostile work environment with it appearing that they are putting the final squeeze on her to get her out. This ongoing situation has added considerable stress to her life.

Her description of the seizure like event and course of immediate action:
"Last Thursday, 11/10, I suffered a seizure-like event and ended up in the ER. I was sleeping on the couch when it started off with a twitching on the left side of my mouth and progressed to either one or both of my arms flailing, screaming or moaning and throwing myself off the couch. John was upstairs at the time and found me with my head between where the sides of the couches meet and got me up off the floor and called 911. The EMTs were able to stabilize me fairly quickly and then transported me to the hospital. After blood and urine testing, an EKG, chest x-ray and CAT scan of my head, I was sent home with the recommendation to see a neurologist.

Yesterday I saw the neurologist. While he did his exam, my reflexes were off the chart. He tested sites on both my arms and my legs and each time I basically jumped off the exam table. He indicated after both the physical exam and the interview that there is little chance that this is related to epilepsy, due to my age and health history. I am scheduled for an EEG on 12/07 and then a follow-up with the neurologist a few weeks later. (If there are any cancellations, the office will contact me prior to 12/07 to reschedule the EEG.)

At this time, John and I believe that the stress of my current situation finally got to me and I had a MAJOR anxiety attack. I still have symptoms which occur when I am upset, most often an involuntary twitch or spasm of my left arm but nothing as severe as what happened last week."

Any advice, insight, feedback or information would be greatly appreciated.
Have an Answer?
Top Neurology Answerers
1780921 tn?1499301793
Queen Creek, AZ
Avatar universal
Minneapolis, MN
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out how beta-blocker eye drops show promising results for acute migraine relief.
In this special Missouri Medicine report, doctors examine advances in diagnosis and treatment of this devastating and costly neurodegenerative disease.
Here are 12 simple – and fun! – ways to boost your brainpower.
Discover some of the causes of dizziness and how to treat it.
Discover the common causes of headaches and how to treat headache pain.
Two of the largest studies on Alzheimer’s have yielded new clues about the disease