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Can Epilepsy get worse over time?
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I'm a 35 year old female. I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 19 after a suffered a seizure after a night of partying. I started on medication and the seizures were controlled, no problems at all. In the past two years I have suddenly started having some major problems with communication, memory, speech slurring, and my brain will often "skip" like a cd. My neurologist has been giving me some tests to figure out what could be causing these symptoms. I had a 24 hour EEG done where my neurologist found quit a bit of seizure activity. She also performed an MRI where she also found something called a Chiari malformation, but she did not seem too concerned about it. I have now been going through medication changes for the past two years because she's viewing alot of the problems that I'm having as side effects of the drugs. I've been on Depakote, Topamax, Lamictal, Keppra, and now Zonegran. I have a 150 RT commute to work everyday to work, and two small children at home. Can stress cause epilepsy to get worse? Can your seizure activity change as you age? I'm so worn out and stressed out at this point...
Posted on 02/16/12, 09:19 am
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Reminder: This is a support group for Epilepsy & Seizures. We trust you will do your best to remain positive and helpful. For more information, see our rules of the road.

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Reply #1 - 02/17/12  7:23am
" Hello abaker,

Your DR may be on the Rite track w/ your medications. Our meds can Rob us of essential Vit/nutrients that can affect seizure status. Yes, stress is known to Trigger seizure activity. You can alleviate symptoms w/ Foods/diet, meditation or counseling.

Yes, seizure activity can change as you age. Usually due to Hormone Fluctuations. But, there are other causes, too. Please Read the Links I left in the Previous Advice post. They are for Depression, but the sites may address Stress too. :) Let me know. I do have more 'homework' on the subject. :)

Is it possible to Share Ride to work? You really Shouldn't be driving if your DR has noted Seizure Activity on your EEG. :( Think of Your Kids! Then think of others' on the road who may be affected if you had a seizure while driving. :(

Are you keeping a journal? (Clik on green words for more Info)

Questions for Doctor:
Stress & EP:
7 Best Stress Fighting Foods:

Hope these articles Help! Let me know. :)

As for Chiari Malformation. Your DR Needs to be concerned! Bookmark/Save these sites for more Info on Epilepsy &/or other Disorders.

Love Candi "
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Reply #2 - 02/17/12  8:00am
" Suggestion/Advice: I Forgot. ;) An Easy Breathing Exercise/Technique to relieve Stress & /or Mood Swings. :) Could help 'calm' them electrical storms in your brain, too. :) Practice everyday till it becomes a Habit. Ask your kids to sit on the couch w/ you & count how many times you can do this. :) Not necessary, but, can Help. :) :) This is called Pursed Lip Breathing.

Inhale thru nose ( from diaphragm, note swelling of belly? :) ) Mentally "Rose in Bloom", Then, Exhale slowly thru Pursed Lips (whistle is OK :) ) "Blow Up a Big Balloon" (Kids can say it for you :) ) Repeat exercise several times. 10 is Ideal limit. :) But, 2-3 times Helps in Crisis'. :)

This technique makes sense. You are eliminating 'bad' oxygen from your lungs. Replacing it w/ 'good' oxygen. And the 'good' oxygen goes into the bloodstream, travels to your brain, calming chemical imbalances in the brain, which cause Problems. This technique also works for falling asleep & sleeping Better. Another Stress Factor/ Seizure Trigger. Poor/inadequate Sleep. :(

Love Candi "
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Reply #3 - 02/17/12  8:52am
" Hi Abarker6, from my own experiences with seizures.. yes, stress can contribute to cause a seizure to happen, too much excitement, especially during the holidays can also cause them, and not getting enough rest, can also cause them to happen. Things to keep in mind that everyone is different, and so it would be a good idea to write a journal of the list of things that triggers your seizures, so that you can show the journal to your treating doctor. There are some trial and errors, until the doctors find what medication that works well for you. Yes, seizure activity can change as you age. "
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Reply #4 - 02/17/12  7:53pm
" Hi There!

I was diagnosed at 8 years old with having Epilepsy! For several
years of my life I was experiencing Petimal seizures, however the
older I got the worse my seizures became! A change of medication
helped me to retain a driver's license again, but it didn't last for long.
It just so happened I was taking my daughter to a babysitter when
all of a sudden a seizure came on and I wrecked! The baby was OK,
but I had crushed 3 three vertabraes in my back! Today after a back
surgery because of the wreck, I walk somewhat crippled!

Just be careful if you do drive!

BRAVE(Kim) "
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Reply #5 - 02/21/12  2:01pm
" Thanks so much everyone for your advice. I have been so frustrated lately with trying to get this straightened out! "
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Reply #6 - 02/21/12  2:09pm
" Stress can be a trigger for seizures. My husband has more seizures with any increase in mood swings..happy or stress related. Several small seizures can be as serious as gran Ma ones....stay on your medications and be sure to report all seizures to your DR. "
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Reply #7 - 02/21/12  6:53pm
" Stress can trigger seizures and many things can cause the activity to change. I don't know that simply your age itself is a factor. The rotation of meds could be what's causing some of your problems. I also had my first seizure at a college age after a night out with friends--almost 20 years ago. Getting adjusted to the meds can be a real pain until you get the right mix--I'm now on 3 different meds daily, with the most recent addition about ten years ago. I've also lost about 70 lbs in 3.5 years, so the dosage of one of them has tapered off. I was once in an emergency room for something which turned out to be unrelated, but when they did a blood test, I was technically so intoxicated they thought I was trying to OD. It took 6 weeks--and 2 or 3 dosage changes--to get it under control so that I was able to speak without tripping over words or slurring them or being wiped out every day. I was also under a lot of stress during that period--I'd lost some of that weight pretty quickly right around then.

Good luck. "
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Reply #8 - 02/22/12  9:17am
" Thanks. One of the biggest things I've been dealing with has been speech. I"ll have days where I'm perfectly fine, then days where I seem completely doped up and I sound like I've been hitting the bottle pretty heavily. I have been trying to keep pretty quiet and to myself at work on those days, but that hasn't been flying too well. "
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Reply #9 - 02/22/12  6:57pm
" Hello abaker3596,
I am new here to, just a little over a year. My seizures are simple partial ones, the doctor thinks I may have Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. I have been on Keppra and Lamictal for a little over a year. Finally I got them to start to ween me off them and see what happens. I do also have Chiari Malformation stage 1. Do you have headaches? That was my symptom that lead to its discovery.

I don't know if anyone suggested the book, "Treating Epilepsy Naturally" by Patricia A. Murphy. My girlfriend found it in Amazon I think.

Best wishes,
MarblesLost58 "
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Reply #10 - 02/23/12  11:40am
" I am not getting headaches, that's why my neurologist is really not concerned at all with my chiari malformation. Her response was "when you start getting headaches let me know and we'll start monitoring it more closely". My husband and family though are pushing me to follow up though with another doctor just to get a second opinion. On one hand, I can totally see where she's coming from, because all of my symptoms can be passed off as side effects of different medications...but why all of a sudden in the last couple of years have I been struggling so much with this? Grrrr.... "

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