What’s the difference between epilepsy and a seizure disorder?

Epilepsy and seizure disorder are both neurological conditions, however, they have distinct differences. Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition that mainly affects the brain, and is represented by recurrent seizures.

A seizure disorder, or seizure disorder syndrome, is a group of epilepsy-like conditions that include epileptic seizures but have different causes, including metabolic, structural, or genetic factors.

Epilepsy is characterized as a disorder of the brain that produces seizures due to abnormal electrical activity. Seizures can cause a person to lose consciousness, have muscle spasms, or experience sensory disturbances.

A person with epilepsy can experience different types of seizures and will often require medication or other treatments to control the seizures.

A seizure disorder, on the other hand, is characterized by any type of epileptic seizure, along with other associated features such as involuntary movements, changes in behavior and attention, and problems with speech and language.

Seizure disorders can be caused by a variety of conditions, including trauma, infection, drug abuse, and metabolic problems. Seizure disorder treatments may include medication as well as surgery, lifestyle modifications, and lifestyle remedies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Can you have seizures and not have epilepsy?

Yes, it is possible to have seizures without having epilepsy. There are a variety of conditions which can cause seizures that do not include epilepsy, including fever, high or low blood sugar, poisoning, drug or alcohol withdrawal, stroke, aneurysm, head trauma, and brain tumors.

Seizures can also be caused by a combination of medicines. Nonepileptic seizures, formerly known as psychogenic seizures, or pseudoseizures, may present similarly to epileptic seizures but do not involve abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

However, some of these seizure-like episodes may be related to psychological and emotional factors, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mental health conditions. A doctor or neurologist can determine if a seizure is epileptic or nonepileptic.

Are all seizures considered epilepsy?

No, not all seizures are considered epilepsy. Seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive, or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain, while epilepsy is a chronic condition characterized by recurring seizures.

Epilepsy is often diagnosed when a person has two unprovoked seizures (or one unprovoked seizure with the likelihood of more) that were not caused by some known and reversible medical condition. Seizures can be a symptom of many different medical conditions or situations, such as medically refractory epilepsy and febrile infections.

In addition, some types of seizures may not be associated with epilepsy, such as eclampsia in pregnancy, provoked seizures due to alcohol withdrawal, hypoglycemia, or drug overdose and reflex seizures due to a metabolic or structural abnormality in the brain.

Thus, not all seizures are associated with epilepsy.

What can be mistaken for epilepsy?

There are dozens of conditions, disorders, and ailments that can be mistaken for epilepsy. These include: panic attacks, migraines, syncope (fainting), multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, sleep disorders, narcolepsy, peripheral neuropathy, and hyperventilation.

Additionally, psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, or PNES, are often mistaken for epilepsy as they share some of the same characteristics. PNES are caused by psychological or psychiatric issues (such as trauma, depression, and anxiety) as opposed to electrical misfiring in the brain, which characterizes epilepsy.

Medically, PNES are considered a disorder of movement, behavior, sensation, or emotion that can resemble or be confused with epilepsy.

Various medication overdose or drug withdrawal, cardiac arrhythmias, and electrolyte imbalances can all affect the brain in a way that could be mistaken for an epileptic event. Poorly-controlled diabetes is another potential cause of what could be mistaken as epilepsy.

Finally, in rare cases, an electrolyte issue, such as hyponatremia, can present in a way that looks similar to epilepsy.

It is important to work with a medical professional to rule out the many conditions that can be mistaken for epilepsy. As the causes and symptoms vary widely, a proper diagnosis should include an evaluation of past medical history, physical examination, neurological assessment, and an EEG to detect electrical activity in the brain.

What triggers non-epileptic seizures?

Non-epileptic seizures (NES) are episodes of abnormal movements or behaviours that are similar to those seen in epilepsy. They can be quite alarming and distressing for both the person experiencing them, and for those witnessing them.

NES can be triggered by a variety of different things that vary from person to person. Examples of triggers can include stress, anxiety, hormone changes, fatigue, intense emotions, certain medications, and certain types of movement.

Stress and anxiety can be a significant trigger of NES and can be caused by a variety of different things such as work, family, school, and personal relationships. It is important to identify triggers that are associated with stress and anxiety and work to reduce, manage, or avoid them.

Hormone changes can also be a trigger, particularly in women. Hormonal fluctuations during a woman’s menstrual cycle can lead to NES, as can hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and menopause.

Fatigue can also trigger NES. It is important to ensure adequate sleep and rest. Regular physical activity and eating a healthy, balanced diet can help to reduce fatigue.

Experiencing intense emotions such as fear, anger, or grief can trigger NES. Finding healthy ways to process and express strong emotions can be helpful in preventing NES.

Certain medications, such as antidepressants and anti-seizure medications, can trigger NES. It is important to discuss any medications being taken with a doctor and make sure any potential side effects, including NES, are taken into consideration.

Finally, certain types of movement, such as movement reflexes and certain postures, can trigger NES. Learning ways to modify these movements, such as varying physical activity, can be helpful in preventing and reducing the frequency of NES.

Overall, the triggers of non-epileptic seizures vary from person to person, and it is important to identify the individual triggers in order to effectively manage and reduce them.

Will an EEG show past seizures?

No, an EEG will not show any past seizures. An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a recording of the electrical activity of the brain. It will only show the current electrical activity of the brain and cannot provide any direct evidence of previous seizures.

To evaluate past seizure activity, doctors may need to look at clinical history, other brain imaging techniques such as MRI, and/or review results of tests such as blood tests. Additionally, doctors may need to speak with the patient and family members in order to get an accurate description of the events to determine if they may have been seizures.

What autoimmune disorders have seizures?

Autoimmune disorders are conditions in which the body’s own immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues, which can lead to tissue and organ damage and even impairment. A number of autoimmune diseases have been found to be associated with seizures.

Examples include:

– Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): Seizures can occur in those with SLE when some part of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) is inflamed due to lupus activity.

– Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: In Hashimoto’s, inflammation may affect the brain or nerves, leading to seizures.

– Multiple Sclerosis: Seizures are quite rare in MS, but they can happen due to inflammation near the brain or spinal cord.

– Myasthenia Gravis: Seizures can happen when the signals between the brain and muscles become distorted due to MG.

– Sarcoidosis: This autoimmune disorder is linked to seizures due to inflammation of the brain, spinal cord, and other tissues.

While these are some of the autoimmune disorders that may lead to seizures, it is important to speak to your doctor if you notice any symptoms or changes that may be related to a seizure. Early diagnosis and treatment of any autoimmune disorder is key to preventing further complications or damage.

What conditions mimic seizures?

Including fainting (syncope), sleep disorders, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or extreme fatigue. Breath-holding spells in young children can also look similar to a seizure. These can have a range of causes including infection, excitement, fear or pain.

Another condition that can mimic a seizure is a psychogenic non-epileptic seizure (PNES). These can also occur in combination with epileptic seizures.

Movement disorders such as muscular dystonia, tics, and tremors can have a seizure-like appearance, as well as strokes and transient ischemic attacks (TIA), (a brief lack of blood supply to an area of the brain).

Other conditions include vertigo (a sensation of spinning), migraine aura, transient global amnesia and panic attacks.

In some cases, it can be difficult to tell the difference between different types of conditions and events that mimic seizures, so in all instances, it is important to seek medical help if an odd-looking medical event occurs.

Additionally, if one experiences recurrent events similar to a seizure, it is best to consult a clinician to rule out or determine the cause of the condition.

What does psychogenic seizures look like?

Psychogenic seizures appear to resemble a lot of other more common seizure disorders. Common behaviors include jerking or twitching of the extremities, confusion, unresponsiveness, and sometimes they may be accompanied by strange vocalizations such as screaming or crying.

During a psychogenic seizure, the person is often conscious and aware, but is not able to provide any insight or recollection of the event. Their movements may be limited, or they may just freeze in one place or even fall to the floor.

Some individuals may also experience an emotional outburst or even changes in their perceptual experience.

Aside from the common physical symptoms, psychogenic seizures can also cause a whole array of behavioral effects. An individual may experience mental impairment such as an altered consciousness, inappropriate behaviors or emotions, memory changes, lack of coordination and concentration, repetitive movements and/or emotional outbursts.

They may also display changes in behavior and mood, including agitation, aggression, depression, anxiety and social withdrawal. In extreme cases, individuals have even reported feelings of deja vu.

Psychogenic seizures are primarily diagnosed via a detailed medical history, physical examination and an EEG (electroencephalogram) to rule out other seizure types. If the individual is deemed to be suffering from psychogenic seizures, treatment may involve special medications, psychotherapy and supportive measures.

Specialists may also recommend lifestyle changes such as stress management and relaxation techniques. In some cases, additional testing such as an MRI may be necessary to further assess the underlying condition.

What is an anxiety seizure?

An anxiety seizure, also referred to as a psychogenic non-epileptic seizure (PNES) is an involuntary and unpredictable event that can be highly distressing to the individual experiencing it. These episodes are often accompanied by physical symptoms including jerking movements, stiffening of the body, twitching or trembling, and loss of consciousness.

It is important to note that despite its name, an anxiety seizure does not involve an actual seizure or a neurological episode but is instead an expression of psychological distress or the manifestation of internalized emotional pain.

The cause of an anxiety seizure is thought to be related to the physical and psychological symptoms that accompany an anxiety or panic attack, such as an increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, sweating, shaking, dizziness, and feelings of dread or fear.

These symptoms are likely to become more extreme with prolonged anxiety, leading to a complete loss of control over bodily movements.

Though the exact cause of an anxiety seizure is unknown, treatment typically involves a combination of medications, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. Approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness meditation can help individuals identify, understand, and manage their anxiety symptoms, while medications can be used to reduce the severity of symptoms and help with the development of better coping skills.

It is important to have open and honest conversations with a medical professional in order to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for each individual.

What is considered a seizure disorder?

Seizure disorders are medical conditions that affect the brain and are characterized by recurring, unexpected episodes of sensory disturbances, loss of consciousness, or convulsions. These medical conditions are typically referred to as ‘epilepsy’ and can range in severity, with some people experiencing virtually no symptoms and others having more intense, life-disrupting episodes.

It is thought that seizure disorders generally strike people between the ages of five and twenty, but they can develop at any age. Seizure disorders can be caused by genetic factors, physical trauma, brain injury, infections, or other environmental factors.

Seizure symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, but there are some common symptoms that are usually associated with them. These symptoms can include sudden loss of consciousness, muscle jerking or twitching, confusion, loss of coordination, body stiffening, feelings of terror, visual or auditory disturbances, disorientation, and loss of bladder or bowel control.

In the most severe cases, the person may stop breathing, appear unconscious and have channels, and require emergency medical attention.

A diagnosis of a seizure disorder is typically made following a neurological evaluation, where a doctor will assess the person’s medical history, perform neurological tests to check for any physical damage to the brain, and possibly order an EEG or MRI to diagnose a seizure disorder.

Treatment of seizure disorders may include medications, surgery, lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, or a combination of these treatments. It is important for people with seizure disorders to seek medical attention for their condition and to follow the prescribed treatments to help manage and control the symptoms.

Is a seizure disorder a mental illness?

No, a seizure disorder, also known as a seizure disorder, is not a mental illness. Seizure disorder is a neurological condition in which the individual has recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy and other seizure disorders, are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain and can affect any one, regardless of age, race, gender, or social status.

While mental illness can cause individuals to experience seizures, it is not the underlying cause of the seizure disorder and should not be confused with it. A seizure disorder can significantly affect an individual’s life, resulting in physical and emotional effects, as well as difficulties with everyday activities, such as driving or working.

In order to help manage the symptoms of a seizure disorder, it is important to work closely with a doctor or neurologist to identify the cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Can you live a normal life after a seizure?

Yes, you can live a normal life after a seizure. People who experience seizures are often able to live full and healthy lives with the proper treatment, lifestyle changes, and support from family and friends.

The first step to living a normal life after a seizure is to seek proper medical treatment. Your doctor will likely recommend a variety of medications or treatments, depending on the type and frequency of your seizures.

Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as avoiding stimulants like caffeine and alcohol, getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and avoiding stress. Participating in regular follow-up appointments is important to monitor progress and determine if any changes need to be made.

It is also important to educate your family, friends, coworkers and teachers about your seizure disorder and what they need to do if you experience another seizure. Knowing what to do in the event of a seizure can help reduce stress and help you feel more secure and supported.

Finally, it is important to take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Eating healthy, exercising, and sleeping well can reduce seizure frequency and provide stability. Additionally, engaging in stress-relieving activities such as yoga, massage and mindfulness techniques can help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.

With proper medical treatment and lifestyle changes, many people who experience seizures can live normal, healthy, and happy lives.

Can you fully recover from a seizure?

The short answer is yes, most people can fully recover from seizures. However, the amount of time needed to recover will depend on the type of seizure experienced and how severe it was. The most common type of seizures are generalized seizures, also known as “grand mal” seizures, which can cause loss of consciousness and body convulsions.

While most people are able to quickly recover from these seizures—adjacent seizures may last only a few minutes—some people may experience more persistent symptoms including confusion, headaches, and fatigue for several hours afterwards.

In terms of seizure prevention, it’s important to note that not all seizures are alike, so some may require more proactive measures such as avoiding triggers that could induce seizures, taking medications, and/or undergoing regular medical monitoring.

Additionally, following healthy lifestyle habits and managing stress through practices such as yoga or tai chi can help lower the risk of seizures reoccurring.

Do seizures shorten lifespan?

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including the type of seizure disorder and the severity of the seizures. For some people with severe seizure disorders, seizures can be life-threatening and may shorten lifespan.

For example, an individual with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) may have a shorter lifespan due to the severity of the seizures. In such cases, it is often best to seek skilled medical care and to follow treatments prescribed by a neurologist in order to manage the seizures and increase the chances of a longer lifespan.

In general, however, seizures do not typically significantly reduce lifespan. Although seizures can be disruptive and uncomfortable, for the majority of individuals with seizure disorders, seizures can be effectively managed with medication and lifestyle modifications.

So long as the individual adheres to their medications and treatment plan, seizures should not substantially decrease their lifespan.

It is important, however, to note that seizures can cause serious injuries, such as loss of consciousness or falling, that can, in rare cases, be life-threatening. It is also important to address any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, that can trigger seizures and potentially shorten lifespan.

Therefore, it is essential to seek medical care and advice in order to best manage a seizure disorder and ensure safe, healthy living.