What kind of seizures cause an aura followed by a loss of consciousness or falling as

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What kind of seizure could this be

I get seizure/migraine auras (vision disturbances, derealization, numbness, nausea, occasional vomiting) followed by a intense urge to sleep. I usually end up losing consciousness during these episodes. My boyfriend frequently finds me asleep at my desk and sometimes I have no memory of feeling tired or falling asleep. People say that I look like I am tired and nod off, but I don't move or have any tics or anything like that. I wake up confused or I forget what happened. Most of the time I wake up feeling refreshed. I can only describe it as a migraine aura followed by narcoleptic like sleep attack. Is this a type of seizure or a rare type of migraine? My mother has epilepsy, so sometimes I wonder if I do too. I have told my neurologist about it and she doesn't seem to have an answer. I had a normal MRI and EEG. In January, I suffered from a PNES triggered by an argument with my boyfriend which resembled a classic grand mal, with involuntary screaming, jerking, turning, biting, drooling and altered consciousness (but not a complete loss). After the seizure I felt tired, but euphoric. I even smiled and laughed a lot when my doctor came into the emergency room to see how I was doing. I also experience frequent arm and back muscle jerks from stress that are very bothersome. I was wondering if anyone had something similar to the aforementioned sleep attacks, especially with lightheadedness and visual symptoms beforehand.
 
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Starfish

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You could be having absence seizures. They do cause an altered state of consciousness and you probably wouldn't remember getting the urge to sleep. The aura would be the migraine, the seizure would be maybe 30seconds of staring lost in consciousness (which you wouldn't recall) and the sleeping and good feelings afterwards could be part of the post ictal. I have done a lot of research on post-ictals this past year because they always last so damn long. I ALWAYS go to sleep after I have a seizure normally for 6-17hrs. I have simple partial seizures. Which always lasts at LEAST 15min, which I personally would think cause I more severe post-ictal than a minute or two of absence, so that may be why you take these "naps." Change in mood can also be the result of a post-ictal. Happiness/good feelings is listed as one of the possible mood changes by epilepsy.com I believe but you'll have to google "post-ictals" for that one.Hope this helps and you should consider yourself fortunate that your seizures actually make you feel GOOD, considering the alternative/ what they make me feel. I would. Good luck!!!
 

Nakamova

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Hi deutschelectronic, welcome to CWE!

With the memory issues, seizures seem more likely than migraine, especially with a history of epilepsy in the family. You could be having absences as Starfish mentions, and/or complex partial seizures (where there can be impaired or partial consciousness like sleepwalking).If you don't already, I recommend that you keep a symptom journal where you track your symptoms as well as other factors like time of day, frequency, duration, etc. It helps to track dietary and sleep patterns as well -- you may be able to identify specific triggers related to fatigue or certain foods, or being hungry/dehydrated, etc. (Finding triggers can be helpful regardless of whether they are migraines or seizures).

You might also consider adding a magnesium supplement to your diet, and avoiding caffeine. Even if your muscle jerks are caused by stress rather than by abnormal brainwaves, magnesium can potentially help because of the role it plays throughout the body in reducing muscle tension.

Best,
Nakamova
 
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I think you guys are right. I did sleep walk last week. My boyfriend saw I passed out in my computer chair and brought me to the living room where I passed out again. I have no memory of any of the events. He eventually put me back to bed. I have been seeing flashing lights constantly all week, with memory loss, sleep attacks and feel nauseated at the same time. I feel extremely wiped out after them.

But yes, the fact epilepsy runs in my family makes me suspicious that I have it. I heard that if your mother has it there is a 20% you will get it too. My mom once told me not to drink so I don't have seizures, but this was before I started having them. This confused me. I wonder if I had one as a child, but she is afraid to tell me. In fact, I'm almost 100% certain my sister has absence seizures. She will be talking to you and all of a sudden she looks the other way and stares for about 10-30 seconds and snaps back to reality. People often think she's being rude, but she's always very considerate of others during conversation and is very outgoing. I'm afraid to tell her I think she has them. But why did I have a normal MRI? I have only had these symptoms for about 5 years. Maybe lesions are not visible yet? Are false negatives common? Should I ask my neuro for a full CNS MRI? What about PET scans? I never had one. Should I ask?

Also, I take Neurontin for anxiety. This was my psychiatrists idea by the way. I don't think it helps much if I do have epilepsy. Although, I do feel it mitigates the nausea and vomiting attacks.
 
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Starfish

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I have photosensitive epilepsy, I had an MRI before I knew, everything came back COMPLETELY normal. They tested me for photosensitivity when I was 9, they hooked up wires to my head and put a red and blue strobe light 2 inches infront of my face. It might not sound pleasant, it's awful really, but knowing is better.
 

Nakamova

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The EEG is the default test for epilepsy, rather than an MRI or PET scan. If a structural issue (like a lesion, scar, or tumor) is playing a role in the seizures, then an MRI might pick it up. But for most folks with epilepsy, there is no identifiable structural cause. (My EEG was full of abnormal epileptic brainwaves, but my MRI was clean.) And if there is a strong likelihood of a genetic predisposition, then a structural cause would be even less likely. In your case and that of your sister, an EEG might be helpful. (Keep in mind that even the EEG can be flawed -- in some cases, the seizure activity may originate too deep in the brain, or be too transient to register).
 

wayne

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these seizures could also be photogenic/optically induced. do these events occur after reading, watching tv, working on pc, flourescent lights or driving past trees with sun shing through?
 
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Flashing lights make me feel funny, but they never brought on a seizure. I did have a seizure once where I was in front of the computer, when the screen turned off it caused even more severe convulsions, but it was already in progress. My eyes were closed, but I could still tell the light difference in front of me. I feel like startling noises make me feel like I'm about to have a seizure, like I can feel the aura of an impending seizure. However, I do have the majority of my seizures at home while I'm sitting at the computer, but I have been attributing that to the fact that being at home makes them worse because I am going through a bad break up with my long time partner who is leaving me for another woman.

Seeing him when I come home turns me into a rage like fit where I start tensing up, my hands curl up, I fall to the floor and convulse and thrash violently while growling and screaming, biting things and scratching at anything around me--and I am mostly conscious of them. They last around 5-20 mins. I am told this, as I am unaware of time often.

For me, triggers are lack of adequate sleep/eating/drinking liquids, anti-histamines, nicotine, alcohol consumption, stress, anger and traumatic experiences. I'm on Gabapentin and only helps with anxiety, not the seizures. I have recently been put on Lamictal, about three weeks ago and noticed a decline in the frequency and severity of my seizures. But my doctor keeps telling me I have psychogenic non-epileptic seizures and not epilepsy like my mother. It's hard to believe now that there isn't a organic cause, not simply a psychiatric one. But after two negative EEGs and negative MRI, they don't want to do further testing. Both my neurologist and psychiatrist are convinced they are NEAD/PNES.

Things were getting bad before my doc tried Lamictal. I was having 30 min to an hour long seizures following my recent break up. It would happen every day for about two weeks. And I was even having multiple seizures a day, all of them differing in length.

When sent to the hospital for having long ones at school and work, they would not treat me after talking to my doctor. I know PNES can be longer than epileptic ones, but what about status elipticus? That's what it seems like to me. Most of my seizures mimic complex partial and tonic-clonic seizures. My awareness can fluctuate during them. About a month ago I had a long one where I did black out, started coming back around and was hallucinating that I was in some medical facility and didn't know where I was. My ex came in the room and I told him I didn't know where I was. I had a vague memory of saying it, but he told me I really had.

I just feel lost. I just keep hoping that increasing the Lamictal will help them stop. My psych says the mood stabilizing aspect of the medication is what's really helping, not the anti-epileptic effects, as I do not have true epilepsy.

Now, I know stressful events trigger seizures in epileptics. So how is using stress (and negative EEGs) a effective way to diagnose what kind they are?

I'm so scared right now. My work is scared about having me come in. I work at a famous museum, so even though my boss knows how I want them to handle it when I do have one, because I refuse to get taken to the hospital. The museum is forcing my boss to call 911 every time now, even though I requested not to. He doesn't want to do it to me either.

But the museum made me bring a doctor's note before they'd let me come back to work. Even though my doctor said it was not life threatening they will continue to do so when I have an attack. I'm worried that going to work will cause more because of the fear of having one--considering I really do just have PNES. I'm seriously considering going on disability since I have them so frequently and sometimes multiple times a day.

My biggest fear is disability because I'm trying to finish college to pursue my dream of working in science. That's why I hate people who berate those on disability, like they're lazy and abusing the benefits. I'm not lazy and I very much want to work. In fact, that's the most devastating aspect of having a debilitating illness, for me anyway.

I heard that you can have both epilepsy and PNES can both be present. I feel trapped and unable to get reliable insight on how to stop this from medical experts.
 

wayne

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dear deutschelectronic, may i suggest that you try to find some inexpensive sunglasses with blue lenses of various shades especially when around the computor or flourescent lighting.... amber ones also work for me but studies show the blue ones to be more effective. check out info on the epilepsie foundation site regarding photogenicly induced seizures.also check wikipedea.org/epilepsie. the Z1 blue lens has been tested by the zeis lens company for light spectrum analysis re seizures and has proven that this lens is effective in many cases! they are expensive and have to be specially orderred. i have just orderred a pair and as a sunglass lens they are about $200. canadian and extra for the frames, so try cheaper ones first, apparantly the darker ones are more effective. i am trying 3 shades to see how it goes. they do cut down the clarity of the computor screen but i seem to feel more relaxed and less tired while working with it. keep in mind that i am very early in the process of my own experiment with this. you have mentioned most of the things that are conducive to seizures so try to minimalize their effect with mental will power and avoidance as best you can. on the web sites, i notice that there are articles about diet as well. i hope that this gives you some encouragement. try to forgive those around you that cannot understand our problem. unless someone has had the problem then it is almost impossible to comprehend an accept our situation. sufferring and overcoming will make us stronger and i firmly believe that you will acheive your goals and that the world will be a better place when you do. all the bast wayne
 
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