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"Micro Seizures"?


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I am usually a decent writer, but my brain feels kind of scrambled today.  I just started a new medication, so bear with me, please.  Hopefully this will be coherent.

 

I have never been diagnosed as bipolar.  I have been treated for depression and mood swings for years, and tried practically every antidepressant at some point.  Most of them either didn't work, or they worked but had unwanted side effects, particularly sexual side effects.  I went for years without seeing a psychiatrist and just got my meds from a general practitioner.  I was on Zoloft for a long time and it did a decent job, but then I realized that my sexual problems were coming from the Zoloft.  A few years ago when my first child was born, things got really unstable.  I felt moody and overwhelmed.  I started going to a psychiatrist, and he tried several medications including buspar, neurontin, lamictal, and several others that I don't even remember.  He diagnosed me with "mood disorder- nos," and said he believes that my brain has what he calls "micro seizures."  He said this is a result of a stressful/traumatic childhood where I was always on alert and my brain was "trained" to react quickly to a threat, and that now as an adult even though those threats are gone, I still sometimes have a mental/emotional reaction to minor things as if the threat was still severe.  I'm paraphrasing big time there, but hopefully you get the gist.  My moods don't go back and forth between severe depression and mania.  In fact, I don't think I've experienced any true depression in years, and I've never experienced mania. 

 

I would describe what I have like this-- I'm occasionally a little bit depressed, and my moods swing up and down super fast.  I can feel optimistic and energetic in the morning, and then something can happen (maybe I don't even register that it's affecting me at all, and often can't even put my finger on it unless I stop and really analyze what's happened) and I'm irritable.  I'm especially irritable and want to escape if I feel overwhelmed, like if several people are pulling me in ten different directions, several people want different things from me right away and I can't possibly respond adequately.  That makes me nuts.  I can't manage that type of stress and I go into crazy bitch mode instantly.  I am fine as long as there's not that kind of pressure.  I guess you could say it's a total inability to cope with certain types of stress.  I'm not going to share what my profession is, but I will say that an inability to manage being pulled in different directions by people is not compatible.  I managed it okay before my kids were born and things worsened.  I did a good job for the most part, as long as I remembered to stay calm.  I've been staying at home with the kids for several years, and now I would like to go back, but I worry that this condition will make it impossible if I don't get it back under control.

 

Recently I went off of Lamictal (that stuff is the devil) and started trileptal.  I know this is another med that is used to treat seizures.  So far I've been on it for two days, and my only complaint is that it makes me kind of sleepy.  I'm hoping that will fade in a few weeks.

 

A few days ago I was trying to find some info about these "micro seizures," and found nothing that talked about that.  I did find a web page written by a psychiatrist who suffers from BPD herself.  He or she describes a variant of BPD that doesn't include mania.  I believe it's called "bipolar spectrum disorder."   I've never had a manic episode, just irritability and outbursts of rage on occasion.  (Nothing violent, just loud and crazy.)  This doctor believes there is a form of bipolar where the "mania" comes out that way.  I met almost all the criteria listed.  Check it out at this link if you want.  http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/frameset.html

 

Has anyone heard of this?  Has anyone heard of a mood disorder being described as "micro seizures"?  His description of "micro seizures" made sense to me, as the behaviors he described fit me perfectly.  I've just never heard it described that way and wondered if he was trying to avoid a diagnosis of bipolar by calling it something else.  He has never used the term "bipolar," and I don't fit the diagnostic criteria for it. 

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Micro-seizures may correlate with mental illness, but are not necessarily related. They are kind of blips where your brain has a short electrical storm, and you may not even feel them. It turns out my husband has constant micro seizures, but we can't tell. Although it is the tonic-clonic ones that we are most concerned about.

 

I have never heard the theory/definition of micro-seizures your psychiatrist uses, and would like to see a link to a scholarly article (i.e., not some random popular magazine article, or crazy person on a forum) that actually shows a correlation between micro-seizures and bipolar illness. I checked pubmed and Google scholar, and bipolar only refers to electrical current in the articles I can find. And I don't know about the childhood trauma causing seizures.

 

Many, many anti-seizure medications are used as mood stabilizers and even anti-depressants. Taking an anti-convulsant doesn't mean you are having seizures. There are probably even more uses for them, that fall outside my area of knowledge.

 

My husband takes both Tri-leptal and Lamictal, as well as Dilantin, Lyrica and clonezepam, and lorezepam for epilepsy. I take Lamictal plus others for BP illness. I am sorry it did not work for you, everyone's different. You'll see "YMMV" for "your mileage may vary" on the forums a lot. Tegretol (an earlier form of Tri-leptal) didn't work for me at all.

 

We can't really diagnose you, you need to ask you pdoc for further information if you are not satisfied with the information he has given you.

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