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Absence seizure or not?

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Posted

All my life I have had the occasional experience of having to freeze my position and stare. It only lasts a few seconds but it can be quite an effort to rouse myself from it. I was reading up on the symptoms of petit mal, or absence seizures and it sounds similar. However, according to the diagnostic criteria, one does not remember having the seizure, whereas I do. I am fully conscious of my situation, but it's like I've temporarily switched off from reality - if people talk to me while it's happening I find it difficult to concentrate on what they are actually saying. Everything looks slightly unreal too.

Another much milder experience is when I feel temporarily dissasociated. For a few moments I wonder whether I am really where I appear to be and with whoever is there, or whether I'm dreaming/hallucinating/imagining it.

'Tis confusing.

Please can anybody suggest to me what might be wrong?

Boz

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Posted

generally, people find out they are having absence seizures because another person notices them.

you are right, being conscious during them is not part of the diagnostic criteria, meaning that to have them, you must be unconscious.

if you dissociate at other times, i would venture that it is more likely a form of dissociation than a seizure. dissociation takes many forms. have you discussed the space outs and dissociations with your treatment team?

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Posted

Thanks Penny

Yes, I have discussed it with them. I saw my psychiatrist today and was told that I would need an EEG. They doubt very much that I have epilepsy but they want to be able to rule it out, hence the scan. It will hopefully also confirm my diagnosis/ses. I'm pretty certain I have Bipolar II, but you never know.

I wouldn't be surprised if I have a dissociation type illness as I often feel at least slightly out of place.

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Posted

From what I remember (although my memory's a a little fuzzy again lately from...yeah, seizury stuff), one of the specific requirements for absence seizures is that you're not aware during them. They're one of the types of generalized seizure that affects the whole brain and totally precludes consciousness/awareness, as far as I know, unlike complex partials, which can completely make someone unaware or lose consciousness (or at least forget about what happened afterwards) but can also just alter consciousness and awareness, which is what happens to me, what is more similar to what you're describing, and what can get confused with other things like dissociation, which is what sounds even more similar to what you're describing.

I've had something sort of similar to what you described happen to me, in a way. I've had all sorts of weird things happen during seizures, but one time in the past few weeks, I basically lost all conscious motor control and my body stopped responding to anything I told it. I was essentially paralyzed and frozen in place and kind of spaced out a bit, but it was more than a few seconds...closer to a minute and a half, more like.

There are parts of our brain controlling various things like that, and when they decide to spaz and flip out, things like that happen. That isn't necessarily what's going on in your case, though, which is why it's good that they want to do the testing to find out and rule things out (or in) for sure. Because you do remember what's going on, they're not absence seizures, I don't think, and I agree with Penny about the dissociation stuff being more likely from what you've described, for the same reasons. If you're having something sort of similar happen at different times, just on a different scale, it could be related.

It's not that it couldn't be neurological, just that it seems less likely from the little bit I know. There are a lot of interesting things that can happen with dissociation that I was reading about last year, but I don't remember enough of the details off the top of my head to suggest reading material or a direction to go in...

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Posted

i had petit mal epilepsy when i was younger (ages 11 to about 15), and i never knew i was having a seizure til i came out of it, and found everyone staring at me, as i'd missed a point in the conversation. anyways, it doesn't sound like absence seizure to me, but something else. i definitely recommend the EEG to pick up anything else, but i doubt you have epilepsy. is it like you're partially paralyzed? are you UNABLE to move? hmmm...just thought i'd throw my two cents in. hope everything works out...

...hannah

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Posted

Thanks.

Yes it is a bit like partial paralysis - I can move but I don't feel able to somehow.

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Posted

This may sound a bit weird, but when Im having seizure trouble, like days before or after a biggie...I'll have these little stares, Im concious, and sometimes...essp. if Im in the middle of a sentence or something, I'll just stop...and Ive been told that my eyes go up and my mouth twitches on one side...and if Im holding something (say a pencil, or something, ) I drop it....its just for a second....and I say Im concious, only because I know to say "Im sorry"...I dont know about the face stuff...Ive only been told that by witnesses...My old neuro just kinda shrugged it off....but Im going to see a new one on the 12th, so I'll see what he has to say....

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Posted

Oh, hell. This means I've been having an extended absence seizure ever since I was born. 22 year long status epilepticus, if you will.

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Posted

Oh, hell. This means I've been having an extended absence seizure ever since I was born. 22 year long status epilepticus, if you will.

If it were continuous, you'd still be sitting there staring blankly into space, and would have been for the past 22 years. That would probably have gotten in the way of having written that post. Heh. Also, you probably would have stopped having a brain a very long time ago after that long of a generalized seizure.

Pretty much by definition it sounds like the things most people are talking about probably aren't really absence seizures, but they sound subjectively about as much fun. Isn't it nice when things don't have the most convenient, simple explanation for them? At least that hardly ever happens to anyone around here. Not any of us weirdos. Nope. At least hanging around CB you sometimes find a few people in a similar situation, for what that's worth.

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Posted

Pretty much by definition it sounds like the things most people are talking about probably aren't really absence seizures, but they sound subjectively about as much fun. Isn't it nice when things don't have the most convenient, simple explanation for them? At least that hardly ever happens to anyone around here. Not any of us weirdos. Nope. At least hanging around CB you sometimes find a few people in a similar situation, for what that's worth.

I was referring to those things, I think, and not what is apparently an actual absence seizure.

However, I think I may have had quite a few genuine petit mals in the past, and my NDoc is looking into that situation at the moment.

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Posted

I was referring to those things, I think, and not what is apparently an actual absence seizure.

However, I think I may have had quite a few genuine petit mals in the past, and my NDoc is looking into that situation at the moment.

Huzzah! So, in the words of the genie from Aladdin, "Have some of column A, try all of column B." Hopefully the neurologist will have something to say one way or the other.

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Posted

All my life I have had the occasional experience of having to freeze my position and stare. It only lasts a few seconds but it can be quite an effort to rouse myself from it. I was reading up on the symptoms of petit mal, or absence seizures and it sounds similar. However, according to the diagnostic criteria, one does not remember having the seizure, whereas I do. I am fully conscious of my situation, but it's like I've temporarily switched off from reality - if people talk to me while it's happening I find it difficult to concentrate on what they are actually saying. Everything looks slightly unreal too.

Another much milder experience is when I feel temporarily dissasociated. For a few moments I wonder whether I am really where I appear to be and with whoever is there, or whether I'm dreaming/hallucinating/imagining it.

'Tis confusing.

Please can anybody suggest to me what might be wrong?

Boz

I also experience this frequently....my doctor has me on a seizure medicine also used to treat bipolar disorder....(Keppra) however I still have this......As far as i've been told it goes hand in hand with bipolar disorder.....I suppose this is why he chose the meds for me he did.....I would talk to your doctor about it..

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Posted

As far as i've been told it goes hand in hand with bipolar disorder

Well that would explain a lot. Thanks.

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Posted

Sorry I missed this thread for so long. This is 100% ADD stuff.

I used to have ADD so bad people thought I was having petit mal seizures as well.

It turns out I might have some minor seizure activity but what you're talking about here is just hardcore daydreaming, getting lost in thought, on another planet, etc.

When I was in elementary school the class used to break into "daydream believer" when everyone noticed I was doing it. It was quite humiliating.

FWIW, I was just reading that somthing like 60% of people with bipolar also have ADD, so it's not totaly offbase to say that it goes hand in hand with bp.

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Posted

Thanks, Velvet Elvis, this too makes sense. I was always doubtful that I had epilepsy.

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