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Old 08-08-2008, 07:39 AM   #1
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Anxiety as a symptom of epilepsy

I was diagnosed with epilepsy twenty years ago. I started having anxiety/panic attacks since about 2001. They got even worse when the dilantin I had been on for 17 years stopped working and I was put on Topamax first (I had all kinds of side effects aside from anxiety), then Keppra (this made me suicidal and extremely anxious and very angry) and now Lamictal. Lamictal works best of the new generation AED's but I still have increased anxiety.

In California, my doctors understood how anxiety was a symptom of epilepsy and how some meds increased the effect of anxiety. I never had a problem getting medication for anxiety. It helped me get over these spells and also to sleep at night. I'm in Florida now and as my neurologist told me upon my first visit: "We do things a lot differently here than in California".

First he put me on a low dose of Lorazapam (I had been on this in CA) but for whatever reason, the Lorazapam stopped being so effective when I went on Keppra so he switched me to Xanax. The dosage wasn't that high but it helped nevertheless (it was 1mg twice a day).

The doctor suddenly decides to lower my dose to .5 twice a day. He doesn't tell me this, he just calls in a script for a lower dose. When I attempt to speak to him he won't get on the phone. He just has his assistant tell me that I've become too "dependent" on the xanax. As a result, I am having horrible anxiety. I had a falling out with the doctor and he "discharged me" and never weened me off the xanax or gave me any direction so I stopped cold turkey.

I can't sleep, I have horrible anxiety, I had a seizure yesterday and I have been vomiting to the point that I've noticed blood in my vomit.

I was wondering:

do any of you suffer from anxiety? how are your doctors in terms of helping you cope? Do they give you anxiety-medication? Does that help? What dosage are you on?

I feel very betrayed by my doctor and feel that he has been extremely careless.

 
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Old 08-08-2008, 11:03 AM   #2
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Re: Anxiety as a symptom of epilepsy

I have never heard of anxiety being a symptom of Epilepsy. I know anxiety can be caused by Epilepsy especially in people who are prone to anxiety just because it's very stressful when seizures aren't completely controlled and you try to live your life but always worry about and dread your next seizure. Also, certain medications can cause anxiety. I was on Dilantin after my first GM seizure, and I had to be switched to a new med after a couple of weeks because it gave me panic attacks.
I also find that some seizures feel like panic attacks. My chest gets all tight, and I think I'm having a panic attack, so then my heart speeds up really fast because it makes me so nervous, but I'm pretty sure those episodes are seizures.
Taking you off the Xanax without weaning you off is a very bad thing. I can see why your doctor may have wanted to take you off of it because my mom was taking Xanax for years, and when she switched doctors, her new doctor was shocked that she'd been on it for years because he said it's only supposed to be a temporary drug, used for at most 2 weeks at a time. So he weaned her off of it, but even lowering her dose carefully, she had horrible withdrawl symptoms. So that's probably where some of your symptoms are coming from now.
Good luck.

 
Old 08-08-2008, 11:33 AM   #3
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Re: Anxiety as a symptom of epilepsy

Actually from what I've read and from what I've been told by past neurologists anxiety is a symptom of epilepsy. I would cut and paste a link but I know it will get deleted by the webmaster (It's against the rules to). Just do an internet search on "anxiety is a symptom of epilepsy" and you will find results.

Ironically, Dilantin worked great for me. The anxiety really started getting bad when I went on Topamax, then Keppra and now lamictal. These episodes aren't seizures. My doctor in California diagnosed me with a panic disorder and my new neurologist would know this if he bothered reading my records which were faxed to him from both my neurologist and my General physician in LA.

The doctor is really bad at his job. Not once did he check my reflexes or my vital signs like past neurologists. Not once did he do an MRI or EEG. A visit with him was sitting across a desk for two minutes answering questions. My mother saw him a few years ago and she had the same experience.

I understand the concern with xanax dependency but I think that now was the worst possible time to take me off it and what really upsets me is that he didn't even have the courage to talk to me about it. He simply did it and when I called to actually speak with him, he refused.

I am a caregiver for my mother who has terminal cancer. Aside from the anxiety associated with the epilepsy and the lamictal, I am anxious about the situation with my mother. My doctor (or rather former doctor) was aware of this. The last few days have been very stressful for both of us. I had a seizure yesterday in the elevator of the cancer hospital. I haven't had a seizure in the daytime since I was diagnosed with epilepsy 20 years ago (I would either have them in my sleep or early in the morning).

 
Old 10-23-2008, 10:33 AM   #4
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Re: Anxiety as a symptom of epilepsy

Quote:
Originally Posted by TopamaxKillsMe View Post
I was diagnosed with epilepsy twenty years ago. I started having anxiety/panic attacks since about 2001. They got even worse when the dilantin I had been on for 17 years stopped working and I was put on Topamax first (I had all kinds of side effects aside from anxiety), then Keppra (this made me suicidal and extremely anxious and very angry) and now Lamictal. Lamictal works best of the new generation AED's but I still have increased anxiety.

In California, my doctors understood how anxiety was a symptom of epilepsy and how some meds increased the effect of anxiety. I never had a problem getting medication for anxiety. It helped me get over these spells and also to sleep at night. I'm in Florida now and as my neurologist told me upon my first visit: "We do things a lot differently here than in California".

First he put me on a low dose of Lorazapam (I had been on this in CA) but for whatever reason, the Lorazapam stopped being so effective when I went on Keppra so he switched me to Xanax. The dosage wasn't that high but it helped nevertheless (it was 1mg twice a day).

The doctor suddenly decides to lower my dose to .5 twice a day. He doesn't tell me this, he just calls in a script for a lower dose. When I attempt to speak to him he won't get on the phone. He just has his assistant tell me that I've become too "dependent" on the xanax. As a result, I am having horrible anxiety. I had a falling out with the doctor and he "discharged me" and never weened me off the xanax or gave me any direction so I stopped cold turkey.

I can't sleep, I have horrible anxiety, I had a seizure yesterday and I have been vomiting to the point that I've noticed blood in my vomit.

I was wondering:

do any of you suffer from anxiety? how are your doctors in terms of helping you cope? Do they give you anxiety-medication? Does that help? What dosage are you on?

I feel very betrayed by my doctor and feel that he has been extremely careless.

 
Old 10-25-2008, 03:40 PM   #5
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Re: Anxiety as a symptom of epilepsy

i have had some type of anxiety problems for some time. the thing that really puzzled me was the fact that it seems to be unpredictable as to when it occurs and how strong the sensation can be. i can wake up in the middle of the night with my mind really stressed, and feeling wired. sometimes it can take me a couple of hours to calm down. i think they have been mostly caused by the keppra i am now slowly stopping. i do get some relaxation from some slow stretching exercises, meditation, listening to some music, or whatever to speed the recoverywhen such events happen.

logger

 
Old 11-15-2008, 02:39 AM   #6
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Thumbs down Re: Anxiety as a symptom of epilepsy

I've had anxiety since i wass a kid and it got worse when i got to high school. I'm still waiting to find out what the doc says about my MRI but I've had enough head injuries throughout my life that i'm sure the last hit messed me up good. after all its been 4 months since i last hit my head and i still have these episodes.

The problem with me is I can never get a doc to help me with my anxiety. the first time i was medicated it was for depression and the pdoc said that my lexapro would deal with the panic attacks as well even though i was on it for a month and they only got worse. He only increased the dose and cost me my job.

I dont trust docs of any kind at this point and was shocked to have my most resent doc actually order up an MRI for me and write me migrain medication. I've had migrains for years and this is the first time i was taken seriously by anyone about it. I think it also helped that he had to grab me so i wouldnt fall off the exam table when he shind the light in my eyes one too many times. I was too loopy to get to see the look on his face but it scared the crap outta him. Prob now is hes not working at the free clinic anymore and now im willing to wait for my insurance to start up before i do get an answer about the MRI.

Most docs seem to half butt do the job and its shameful. your situation should have been looked into rather than him just asking you questions and making up his own reality. I hope you find someone that works for you and not for the pay. (((hugs)))

 
Old 11-23-2008, 04:01 PM   #7
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Re: Anxiety as a symptom of epilepsy - me too.

Dear Friend. I have suffered from Epilepsy for the last 7 years. It started off with bad seizures where I would fall to the ground and Jerk, the throw up violently for hours and be very confused. Since then I have been on Lamictol which has controlled these type of seziures thank God. But recently In the last year I have had another type of seziure, which is triggered by stress/Anxiety even strong emotions. I appear to start having a panic attack, where people think I am having one, but then My words become mixed up and I don't remember the whole of the 3-4 mins where I'm shouting that I can't breath ect. For a few minutes I after Im dazed and right before, I get an 'Aura' (De Ja vous mostly), I feel very nervous, hot, I get snappy and I get a sense of fear. The Anxiety isn't a part of the seizure, it's a feeling I get before I blank out for 3-4. I get anxious because I know whats coming ahead. What makes me anxious is having Epilepsy, The worries of having fits. My doctors have increased my dose to 400mg Lamictol. I am on nothing else. You are not alone - anxiety is a huge part of Epilepsy. You need to do the same as me - and that's Tell our doctor's to wake up and begin to understand the way we actually feel. Hold on there Bud.

 
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