[Research] A Menu of Epilepsy Auras

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One of the good thing about auras, is that if you’re aware of them, they’re effective (if unpleasant) warning signals of an oncoming seizure. I didn’t learn to identify mine (mouth filling up with saliva and disgusting metallic taste) until I was well into my 20’s. Then I added dark spots to my repertoire and I was having all three when I met my husband!

The good news is that once I recognized them, I would instinctively know to hit the floor (before I fell) or find a safe place to weather out the storm…

The fact is: There are probably as many or more types of auras as there are types of epilepsy…

Auras can last from several seconds to as long as an hour, and can sometimes end with feelings of extreme tiredness, weakness, heart palpitation, sweating and warmth throughout one’s body. And some people can experience auras and have no seizure(s).

Each person and each person’s aura patterns are different. They vary significantly between each individual. Yours may happen right before a seizure or several minutes to hours earlier.

Common warning signs right before seizures are changes in bodily sensations, changes in your ability to interact with things happening outside you, and changes in how familiar the outside world seems to you. Other warning signs that may happen hours before a seizure are depression, irritability, sleep disruption, nausea, and headache.

People with complex partial seizures are the most likely to experience warning signs. Approximately 55% to 65% of people with these seizures experience some type of aura. It’s unclear whether having seizures that arise from one particular side of the brain makes you more likely to have auras than people whose seizures arise on the other side.

For lots of people, auras occur in an ordered progression. First you may feel fear…then déjà vu (the feeling that you’ve been there before)…then a strange taste in your mouth.

The part of your brain where your seizures originate (your seizure focal point) also may be linked to a specific type of aura because an aura represents the beginning of a seizure. Since different parts of the brain are responsible for different things, the warning signs you experience will be related to the functions of the section of brain where the seizure is about to occur. People whose seizures begin in the temporal lobe tend to have certain types of auras and those whose seizures begin somewhere else often will have different types.

Here are some types of auras that can happen alone or in combinations…

Visual changes

Kaleidoscope effects
Visual hallucinations
Shimmering sensations
Vibrating visual field
Distortions in size, shape or distance of objects
Bright lights or blobs
Zigzag lines
Tunnel vision
Blind or dark spots in the field of vision
Curtain-like effect over one eye
Blindness in one eye
Motionless stare
Dilated pupils

Auditory changes

Hallucinations — hearing voices or sounds that don’t exist
Being unable to understand spoken words
Muffled sounds
Buzzing noises
Loud or whispered volume
Temporary deafness

Physical changes

Weakness, unsteadiness
Changes in heart rate
Sweating
Nausea
Vertigo
Saliva collecting in mouth
Lip smacking
Chewing
Swallowing
Strange smells
Problems speaking
Repetitive movements
Limbs jerking involuntarily
Numbness or tingling on one side of face or body
Feeling of being separated from your body
Needing to urinate

Psychological changes

Confusion
Anxiety or fear
Physical detachment
Déjà vu or jamais vu, a sense of familiarity or unfamiliarity


Resources:
Steven C. Schachter, M.D.
http://my.epilepsy.com/node/58
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aura_(symptom)
http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/forums/f27/experience-aura-auras-2485/
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1184509-overview
 

sandi

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Aura's

I found this very interesting, I have a lot of Aura's some don't go anywhere-just seems I'm in an endless haze. But yea I usually just Grab the Xanax at that point and seek safety until it passes, Once I start the Xanax-I usually stay on it a day or 2 then go off.


Some that you listed , I have -but when I described to the doctors they say that's not a symptom.
 

sandi

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Aura

Is it possible to have both feelings of the Deja and the Jami.
I always feel familiar with the sinking feeling it's coming on (at least I know what to expect),yet I am unfamiliar with where I am even if it's someplace
I know well.
 

Nakamova

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I think with e, just about anything is possible...
 
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I myself have auras that let me no to tell someone I'm probably going to have a seizure . They then help to keep me from getting hurt. If I'm alone I try to lay on the floor and ride it out. I recall always having auras until I was overmedicated. At that point they stopped. When the meds were changed and I took less I started to feel them again. If it happens I make it a point to take an extra Clonazapam.
 
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