Epilepsy & Seizures Support Group

Epilepsy (often referred to as a seizure disorder) is a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures. It is commonly controlled with medication, although surgical methods are used as well. Seizures (or convulsions) are temporary abnormal electrophysiologic phenomena of the brain, resulting in abnormal synchronization of electrical neuronal activity.

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Can Epilepsy get worse over time?

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...

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

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: http://www.nomoreseizures.com/
Stress & EP: http://www.epilepsyhealth.com/stress-seizure.html
http://www.life123.com/health/medical-conditions/seizures/stress-causin-seizures.shtml
7 Best Stress Fighting Foods: http://health.yahoo.net/experts/eatthis/7-best-stress-fighting-foods

Hope these articles Help! Let me know. :)

As for Chiari Malformation. Your DR Needs to be concerned!
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chiari/detail_chiari.htm Bookmark/Save these sites for more Info on Epilepsy &/or other Disorders.

Love Candi
deleted_user
deleted_user

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
deleted_user
deleted_user

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.
Brave
Brave

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)
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks so much everyone for your advice. I have been so frustrated lately with trying to get this straightened out!
deleted_user
deleted_user

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.
deleted_user
deleted_user

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.
deleted_user
deleted_user

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.
deleted_user
deleted_user

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
deleted_user
deleted_user

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....
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hello abker3596,

Yes. stress can definitely trigger seizures. As far as I can tell, It is the sole trigger for mine. You read a lot about how epilepsy generally becomes better with age but in my experience it has gotten worse. It started for me in my childhood as absences, moved on the grand mals and now finally the rare psychosis and more common complex partials. So don't worry too much about the change in activity....as long as your meds can control it, you should be fine. Try to use meditation and yoga to help with the stress.
deleted_user
deleted_user

abaker,

The book Marbles suggested has been recommended for 20+ yrs. :) If you can't afford to buy it, you should talk to the Research Librarian at your Local Library & ask about it. They can Search other Counties/States to 'borrow' the book for you. :)

Your family is Rite! You Should seek a second Opinion. Or 3 or More. Depending on how Many Neuros are available in your Area. Search your Local &/or other County Hospitals to see if they have a Seizure Specialist (epileptologist) on Board.

How are you doing today? :) HUGS!

Love Candi
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hello Again,
Sorry it has taken so long to reply, I have been so forgetful and fuzzy since being on these anti-seizure medicines.

I was having life altering daily headaches when they found my Chiari Malformation. After finding out that there was nothing else that could cause the very bad headaches I was having, we decided that surgery was my only option. Believe me, if you are not having any symptoms, you do not want someone to say, "lets do the decompression surgery.", it is not fun.
There are several stages of Chiari, stage one mot of the time goes unnoticed because there are no symptoms, they are usually found incidentally. Stage two, surgery sometimes does not help, that is what happened with me, stage three is the bad one with hydrocephalus and definitely needs to be corrected.
If I were you, I would get a second opinion, just to reassure your family members that there is no problems with just watching it. Most of the time, symptoms do not surface until mid-life, that is when mine surfaced.
If you have any questions about this, please email me at jprewinski@netscape.net, that would be the easiest way to get in tough with me.
MarblesLost58
deleted_user
deleted_user

I've been having siez. for about 35 yrs now and I am now 44yrs old. My seiz. have changed and seemed to have gotten stranger and stranger the older I get.
Every month I would have siez. for about a week before my period, then I had to have a partial hysterectomy causing me to no longer "Physicaly" have periods anymore although I did get the cramps, mood swings and siez.
For some reason I was having that "Week long " of seiz. for several weeks at a time. I couldn't understand WHAT IN THE HECK IS HAPPENING TO ME!!! After talking to my dr. I realized all the seiz. were coming from the hormones that I get when I have my period only now I was starting pre-menopause and having 2 maybe 3 periods a month. OMG!!!
I am involved in a research project because I am going to be having a temporal lobectomy and while being on a Video EEG for almost a week, I found out that one of the seiz. I thought was a grand mal was actually a very strong partial complex partial.
It's all weird to me.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I was on my period for those 5 days, I never thought about it being hormone related. The timing is right though, because that's right when I started straightening out though. I can't do that once a month, though...I was pretty much a vegetable! I couldn't even form a sentence. Is the research project helping you learn stuff that's helping you out?