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Old 03-11-2009, 03:13 AM
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Is epilepsy a spiritual experience?


My experiences leads me to believe that there is more to "epilepsy" than what meets the eye. Is this possible? Could it be that epilepsy is a spiritual jouney? Let me know what comes to mind.
Sergio
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:20 AM
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I have had seizures where I felt I had different understanding of something or new perception on life though that doesn't happen all that time (sadly).

As a kid I always enjoyed feeling so mentally energetic during a seizure. Of course I'd go to sleep on the floor afterwards but at such a young age, that was OK.

Also, welcome to the site sergio. It's always nice to get different viewpoints from different people.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:30 AM
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lol
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:29 AM
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uh, hmmm


wish I could say that. All I've ever had are t/c's and myoclonics. So, I can't join you in saying that....
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:54 AM
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Tle?


I'm guessing you have temporal lobe epilepsy. I have never found any religious experience with any of my seizures.
The following long winded article has links. Can't remember where I got it from, tho'.

Religion: is it all in your head? - Vilayanur Ramashandran's research on the temporal lobe's neural circuitry and its link to epilepsy patients' obsession with religion.

While looking into how the brain regulates behavior, Vilayanur Ramashandran, M.D., thinks he may have found God. The neurologist believes that somewhere in the brain's temporal lobes there may be neural circuitry for religious experience; he points to the fact that about 25 percent of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy are obsessed with religion. "I have temporal lobe patients walking into my laboratory wearing a huge cross and carrying a 500-page tome on the nature of God," says Ramashandran, of the University of California in San Diego.

He thinks that these patients' seizures caused damage to the pathway that connects two areas of the brain: the one that recognizes sensory information and the one that gives such information emotional context. "Everything becomes very significant," he says. These patients a seeing depth in every little thing."

To support his theory that there is a specialized circuitry in the brain for religious experience, Ramashandran and his colleagues hooked up temporal-lobe patients and healthy controls to a machine that records the body's physical reactions to stimuli. Three groups of words were presented to the patients: neutral words; profane or sexually loaded words; and religious words.

Normal people set off the response meter when they read curses and sexually expressive words. There was no response to the neutral or religious words, even in normal volunteers who are devout. But some patients with epilepsy gave the monitor a jolt when they were presented with religious words -- and not when they heard curses or sexual words.

Ramashandran cautions that his findings are preliminary, and even if proven in the laboratory, don't invalidate religious experience. "On the contrary," he says, "they tell us what parts of the brain may be involved."

Epilepsy is a common neurologic disorder and poses substantial burdens on physical and mental health. Epilepsy can interfere with social functioning by limiting employment, educational opportunities, and interpersonal relationships and can increase the risk for death (1). The annual cost of cases of epilepsy in the United States, including direct medical costs and productivity losses, was estimated at $12.5 billion in 1995 (2). Depending on case definitions and populations studied, epilepsy affects an estimated 0.4%-1.0% of the population (3,4) with a lifetime prevalence of 1.8%-2.6% in certain state populations (16). This report analyzes data from the 2003 and 2004 South Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys, which included questions on epilepsy, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and disability.

This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which determined that 2.2% of adults in South Carolina had ever been told they had epilepsy, 1.1% had active epilepsy, and both groups reported worse HRQOL and higher prevalence of disability than those who had never had epilepsy. Healthcare providers should screen epilepsy patients for cognitive, emotional, and physical health problems that might negatively affect HRQOL (6-8). Patients with active epilepsy and recent seizures should be targeted with interventions that will decrease the risk for adverse physical (e.g., injury) and psychosocial (e.g., unemployment) outcomes that accompany continued seizures (8).

Results indicated that an estimated 2.2% (95% CI = 1.8%-2.5%) of South Carolina adults had ever had epilepsy and that 1.1% (CI = 0.9%-1.4%) had active epilepsy (Table). Among those with active epilepsy, an estimated 50.5% (CI = 38.9%-62.1%) had had one or more seizures during the preceding 3 months.

Adults who had ever had epilepsy had more mentally, physically, and overall unhealthy days and more activity-limitation days than those without epilepsy. Nearly half (46.7%) of those who had ever had epilepsy and 63.5% of those with active epilepsy reported some form of disability, compared with 17.9% of those without epilepsy. HRQOL factors were worse for those taking medicine to control their epilepsy than for those not taking medicine. Adults with active epilepsy had more than twice as many physically, mentally, and overall unhealthy days and activity-limitation days than those without epilepsy, and more overall unhealthy days and activity-limitation days than those with inactive epilepsy (Table). Finally, a larger proportion of adults with active epilepsy reporting a seizure during the preceding 3 months reported disability than those without epilepsy, those with inactive epilepsy, or those with active epilepsy but no seizures during the preceding 3 months.

Most of the overall cost of epilepsy results from treatment of persons with continuing seizures (2); approximately half of those in this study with active epilepsy reported seizures during the preceding 3 months. The goal of epilepsy treatment is to eliminate seizures and treatment side effects (1); continuing seizures might indicate inadequate treatment.

The findings in this report are subject to at least four limitations. First, all data are self-reported and not based on clinical diagnoses; self-reporting of epilepsy is subject to potential bias. Prevalence might be overestimated by persons reporting nonepileptic seizures, childhood febrile seizures, or seizures associated with alcohol abuse. Prevalence might be underestimated because of reluctance to disclose a stigmatizing condition (1) or because misdiagnosis occurred with symptoms associated with other conditions (e.g., dementia). However, the follow-up questions (e.g., regarding medication and number of seizures) tend to increase the likelihood that epilepsy prevalence data are accurate. Second, BRFSS data exclude children and adolescents, for whom prevalence is high (1), and also exclude persons with no telephone or only cellular phones and those who are institutionalized. Thus, findings are not generalizable to the entire state population. Third, response rates were low (41.6% and 43.8%) for the surveys described in this report. Finally, the cross-sectional design of the study prevents causal relationships (e.g., between epilepsy and mental health) from being assigned.


Additional information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/ state_activities.htm
Prevalence of epilepsy and health-related quality of life and disability among adults with epilepsy—South Carolina, 2003 and 2004

References

(1.) Living well with epilepsy II: report of the 2003 National Conference on Public Health and Epilepsy. Landover, Maryland: Epilepsy Foundation; 2003. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/pdfs/ living_well_2003.pdf.

(2.) Begley CE, Famulari M, Annegers JF, et al. The cost of epilepsy in the United States: an estimate from population-based clinical survey data. Epilepsia 2000;41:342-51.

(3.) CDC. Prevalence of self-reported epilepsy--United States, 1986-1990. MMWR 1994;43:810-1.

(4.) Hauser WA, Annegers JF, Kurland LT. Prevalence of epilepsy in Rochester, Minnesota: 1940-1980. Epilepsia 1991;32:429-45.

(5.) CDC. Health-related quality of life among persons with epilepsy--Texas, 1998. MMWR 2001;50:24-6.

(6.) Kobau R, Dilorio CA, Price PH, et al. Prevalence of epilepsy and health status of adults with epilepsy in Georgia and Tennessee: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2002. Epilepsy Behav 2004;5:358-66.
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(7.) Strine TW, Kobau R, Chapman DP, Thurman DJ, Price P, Balluz LS. Psychological distress, comorbidities, and health behaviors among U.S. adults with seizures: results from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey. Epilepsia 2005;46:1133-9.

(8.) Gilliam F. Optimizing health outcomes in active epilepsy. Neurology 2002;58:S9-20.

(9.) Moriarty DG, Zack MM, Kobau R. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy Days Measures--population tracking of perceived physical and mental health over time. Health Qual Life Outcomes 2003; 1:37.

(10.) Kanner AM, Balabanov A. Depression and epilepsy: how closely related are they? Neurology 2002;58(8 Suppl 5):S27-39.

Reported by: PL Ferguson, PhD, AW Selassie, DrPH, BB Wannamaker, MD, Medical Univ of South Carolina; B Dong, MD, South Carolina Dept of Health and Environmental Control. R Kobau, MPH, DJ Thurman, MD, Div of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC.
epilepsy and health-related quality of life and disability among adults with epilepsy—South Carolina, 2003 and 2004
TABLE. Estimated frequency * of health-related quality of life
indicators and prevalence of disability, by epilepsy status--Behavioral
Risk Factor Surveillance System, South Carolina, 2003-2004

Participants

(95% CI Epilepsy status No. (%) ([section])

Does not have epilepsy 11,549 (97.8) (97.5-98.2)
Has or had epilepsy 228 (2.2) (1.8-2.5)
Taking medicine 111 (45.2) (36.9-53.5)
Not taking medicine 117 (54.8) (46.5-63.1)
Had seizure during
preceding 3 mos 53 (26.3) (18.3-34.3)
No seizures during
preceding 3 mos 162 (70.4) (62.3-78.5)
No longer has epilepsy 10 (3.3) (1.1-5.4)
Epilepsy, inactive 105 (1.0) (0.8-1.3)
Epilepsy, active 122 (1.1) (0.9-1.4)
Active, no seizure during
preceding 3 mos 66 (49.5) (37.9-61.1)
Active, seizure during
preceding 3 mos 53 (50.5) (38.9-62.1)

Indicators Mentally unhealthy days

No.
Epilepsy status ([paragraph]) (95% CI)

Does not have epilepsy 3.4 (3.3-3.6)
Has or had epilepsy 7.5 (6.0-9.0)
Taking medicine 9.7 (7.6-11.8)
Not taking medicine 5.7 (3.7-7.6)
Had seizure during
preceding 3 mos 10.5 (7.1-14.0)
No seizures during
preceding 3 mos 6.5 (4.7-8.2)
No longer has epilepsy -- ** --
Epilepsy, inactive 5.4 (3.4-7.3)
Epilepsy, active 9.4 (7.2-11.6)
Active, no seizure during
preceding 3 mos 8.3 (5.3-11.2)
Active, seizure during
preceding 3 mos 10.5 (7.1-14.0)

Indicators Physically unhealthy days

Epilepsy status No. (95% CI)

Does not have epilepsy 3.7 (3.5-3.8)
Has or had epilepsy 6.9 (5.3-8.6)
Taking medicine 9.3 (6.5-12.0)
Not taking medicine 5.0 (3.2-6.8)
Had seizure during
preceding 3 mos 11.7 (7.2-16.2)
No seizures during
preceding 3 mos 5.1 (3.6-6.6)
No longer has epilepsy -- --
Epilepsy, inactive 4.9 (3.0-6.7)
Epilepsy, active 8.8 (6.2-11.4)
Active, no seizure during
preceding 3 mos 5.8 (3.2-8.4)
Active, seizure during
preceding 3 mos 11.7 (7.2-16.2)

Indicators Overall unhealthy days

Epilepsy status No. (95% CI)

Does not have epilepsy 6.1 (5.9-6.3)
Has or had epilepsy 11.4 (9.4-13.4)
Taking medicine 14.8 (12.1-17.6)
Not taking medicine 8.5 (6.1-10.9)
Had seizure during
preceding 3 mos 16.8 (11.8-21.8)
No seizures during
preceding 3 mos 9.4 (7.3-11.4)
No longer has epilepsy -- --
Epilepsy, inactive 8.3 (5.9-10.8)
Epilepsy, active 14.1 (11.2-17.0)
Active, no seizure during
preceding 3 mos 11.3 (8.0-14.5)
Active, seizure during
preceding 3 mos 16.8 (11.8-21.8)

Indicators Activity-limitation days

Epilepsy status No. (95% CI)

Does not have epilepsy 2.4 (2.2-2.5)
Has or had epilepsy 5.8 (4.2-7.4)
Taking medicine 8.7 (5.9-11.4)
Not taking medicine 3.4 (2.0-4.9)
Had seizure during
preceding 3 mos 10.1 (5.7-14.5)
No seizures during
preceding 3 mos 4.2 (2.7-5.7)
No longer has epilepsy -- --
Epilepsy, inactive 3.1 (1.6-4.6)
Epilepsy, active 8.2 (5.7-10.8)
Active, no seizure during
preceding 3 mos 6.4 (3.6-9.2)
Active, seizure during
preceding 3 mos 10.1 (5.7-14.5)

Disability ([dagger])

Epilepsy status (%) (95% CI)

Does not have epilepsy (17.9) (17.1-18.8)
Has or had epilepsy (46.7) (38.5-55.1)
Taking medicine (59.8) (48.7-70.0)
Not taking medicine (35.8) (25.3-47.9)
Had seizure during
preceding 3 mos (85.7) (72.8-93.1)
No seizures during
preceding 3 mos (32.4) (24.6-41.4)
No longer has epilepsy -- --
Epilepsy, inactive (28.2) (19.6-38.7)
Epilepsy, active (63.5) (52.8-73.1)
Active, no seizure during
preceding 3 mos (41.0) (27.8-55.7)
Active, seizure during
preceding 3 mos (85.7) (72.8-93.1)

Last edited by Shelley; 03-11-2009 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Where'd the smilies come from?
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:03 AM
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If epilespy is a spiritual experince, I'm very tired after the service. I even fall asleep during the service.
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:01 AM
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Welcome Sergio,

For me, epilepsy hasn't been a spiritual experience, although during an aura once, I did experience a psychotic event, hearing voices, but it wasn't pleasant. It scared the crap out of me!

As Shelly as said in her posting, there have been studies done about temporal lobe epilepsy and religious experiences. Many people have had pleasant experiences during the seizure.
I have a book, "neurologist-Theology; Brain, Science, Spirituality, Religious Experience", and it explains how the brain works during these types of seizures and how these people come out with such a pleasant experience. None of the seizures I've experienced have been pleasant at all, and I've had simple partial, complex partial, and tonic clonic.

Epilepsy has made me want to run from all religious experiences!

Cindy
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Old 03-11-2009, 11:10 AM
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Can't say Rebecca's are either. She has no memory of any of it.

If I can say a positive that has come out of it, she has a bigger picture of life now than most of her friends of the same age. Just wish it could have been a rosier picture for a little bit longer.
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Old 03-11-2009, 12:59 PM
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I can see why some of us do. First let me say I was only just diagnosed at age 43, but am sure I've experienced seizures since age 9. (Despite what the Docs say). I have an extremely strong long term memory, one of my earliest was knowing without a doubt at age 5 there was a God. It was very simple to me, There just was. At age 12 I had a sudden awareness that I was spirit in a human body I remember thinking that I was really an old lady on my death bed and just remembering my childhood that day. That was probably during an absence seizure. I'm not sure if it's because of the lesion in my right temporal lobe or not. As my seizures progressed I developed intense out of body experiences. I believe it gives me the sence of what spirit feels like. After witnessing my fathers death I know spirit exists, as I saw his leave. I've never been scared of my seizures (mostly auras) so maybe that's why I can feel this way.

I had this very conversation with my first neurologist. He is a devote Christian who also practices Buddhism. When I told him of my ideas and of reading about people with temporal lesions and religious conversions he quipped "Maybe I have one."

If it's not true I feel no harm done. As my chiropractor says (He's also a devote Christian) Believing in an afterlife and eating organics are kind of the same - if we're wrong no harm done.

PS I also have very vivid dream memory always have.
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:02 PM
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I can't say that it's been a spiritual experience for me... when I have simple partials it's usually a sense of deja vu right before it, then during it unwanted thoughts placed in my head. None of which I can remember afterwards.

It doesn't feel too spiritual as I have extreme feelings of loneliness and fear afterwards.

But I'm glad it may be spiritual for some people.
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:26 PM
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spiritual experience


Interesting thread to say the least-I've not personally experienced anything I would equate to spiritual during auras or seizures. I do believe that the holy spirit is ever present though. I think if someone/anyone can acheive a higher level of spiritual awareness/awakening and it happens to be during a seizure then more power to them. I do consider myself a very grounded Christian woman though in that I am able to faithfully restore my soul and emotional well being after being thrown a blow such as a seizure; for me spiritual moments are the ones that come with peace and still, calm, prayer and centering and the brain is just way too fired up during a seizure for that level to be achieved.
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Old 03-12-2009, 08:33 PM
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Seizures, Spiritual experience?


ever since I started having seizures my life changed - for the good. After a seizure I feel free and a sense of relief and peace. I sometimes thought and I still think that everytime I have a seizure I'm born again. You probably think I'm crazy - I thought so too, but not really. Having an existance and experiencing seizures is a very unique phenomena, at least for me - remember I'm talking for myself, from where I'm looking at things.

Do seizures make you more aware of your true self? Where is it that I go that when I'm back I understand people better and have a sense of admration for those around me? Is it that I'm close to checking out?
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Old 03-12-2009, 08:43 PM
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Chris, thank you for your thoughts on this. I'm glad you are here and in touch. you are important and not alone. In your own words, what do you understand by spiritual? Sergio
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:00 PM
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Welcome sergo,

Temporal Lobe Epilespy: You can expereince the "spiritual" among a miriad of things. Check that out and see if any of your symptoms match. Going over this with your doctor would probably be a good idea, too. I have temporal lobe epilepsy. Have had allot of Out of Body experiences. Back in the 70's it was the "in thing". Then, everyone thought that if you had Out of Body experience, you were spiritually evolved. Ideas revolving around Jesus were also prevalent for me. Studies are being done making connections between temporal lobe epilepsy, DID and Bi-Polar Disorder. With Bi-Polar disorder you can have religious fixations and a sense of euphoria. At this time there is no conclusive evidence that the three are tied. Neverthless, researchers do know that experiencing the spiritual comes with the territory of temporal lobe epilepsy and Bi-Polar Disorder. In each distinct cases. Don't dismiss your feelings of having very close connections to those around you. They may not be symptomatic! But I'd cover this just to make sure you're on the same page with yourself. Epilepsy is just an umbrella term. All different strains of epilepsy are underneath the umbrella...varied, complex forms of epilepsy, all with their own unique and very often "mysterious" symptoms. Again, welcome and know that you'll be getting allot of "food for thought" here. You'll make like minded freinds here! We all help each other get by...
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Last edited by Cinnabar; 03-13-2009 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:17 PM
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I'd surely say that it awakens me at times - not on a "let's get up and go" sensation - mainly in the factor of how it brings realisation into my life. For instance, my seizure's are mainly brought on by stress related circumstances, so when I have my seizure I usually come around afterwards realising what a fool I've been for worrying about such silly little things, as I always know that I'm gonna have a seizure after a period of stress.

Would I go as far as saying it's a Spiritual Experience ?.....hmmm, no I don't think I would as it doesn't leave me feeling uplifted....however, on what I've typed above, it could be a message from above when I have one - kinda like a boot up the butt to say "HEY, STOP!". It can change my outlook on life in a better way, due to the realisation.

So could you say I'm being spoken to from above ?....kind of like having a 'wake-up-call' when needed ?.....I'll find out one day when I meet my maker - I'll remember to ask this question to him/her
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:32 PM
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Hey Cinnabar, thanks for your replay and data. I'll check with my Dr. as to where, physiologically my symptoms are coming from i.e. where in the brain.

So far I've gone 20 years without a seizure, but now that I moved back to LA I, unsolisited, met my seizures again. So I'm back in business learning about my good old trigers and getting these incidents further under control. Lamictal is my anti-epileptic drug and I love it. You see, 20 years ago Lamictal (Lamotrigine) did not exist (at least not in the market) - I'm currently not aware of any side effects and when I administrate it by the book I'm seizure free. - in reference to the other anti-epileptic drugs, I would rather take my chances than to experience the awfull side effects.

Nevertheless, I was exploring more into "tierra incognita" - the mind - not necessarily, the physiological aspects of my phenomena. I find this adventure, facinating, and I believed perhaps, others may have tapped into this sector. Sergio
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:51 PM
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that is interesting. I also get stressed out, but unbeknowns to me and if I don't chill...Zooooom I go. But I go somewhere, and it is not in my head. When I come back, I'm very happy to return because I have a life, but also appreciate so much more those around me... I'm glad I'm back and also a bit shocked and terrified as to how uncontrolled and sudden it all happened. To me there are certain things which are beyond what we could ever consider. Things that have no words in this universe capable of explaining the occurrance... and this is one of them.
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:11 PM
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Glad to be of some help. I take Lamictal and am also a fan. I do believe it's kept my seizures under control. But it "is" an awfully strong medication!
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"I'm not only my spirit but my body, and who can decide how much I, my individual self, am conditioned by the accident of my body? Would Byron have been Byron but for his club foot, or Dostoyevsky Dostoyevsky without his epilepsy" Somerset Maugham

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Old 03-13-2009, 03:17 PM
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You reckon... what makes it strong?
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Old 03-13-2009, 04:56 PM
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Haven't a clue. All I know is that my psychiatrist thought I needed and could handle the dosage he prescribed. I was having the "wobblies"...holding onto furniture getting from one room to another. He lowered the dosage and I was fine. My neurologist informed me that too much Lamictal can cause seizures. I feared that's where I was heading. Despite this experience, Lamictal is high up on my list of anti-seizure meds. I do beleive it's kept my seizures at bay. But it's important to be on the correct dozage!
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"I'm not only my spirit but my body, and who can decide how much I, my individual self, am conditioned by the accident of my body? Would Byron have been Byron but for his club foot, or Dostoyevsky Dostoyevsky without his epilepsy" Somerset Maugham

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http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/forums/f44/
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Last edited by Cinnabar; 03-13-2009 at 05:02 PM.
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