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Author Topic: Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?  (Read 11361 times)

Offline Giles

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Hey. I'm new to this site but it seems like the right place to ask. I'm a student from England and have recently started to have mental problems. I haven't really seen anyone about it but I intend to soon, Iím just worried Iím concerned about nothing.
I've had a general ill and exhausted feeling from around the start of the year, and also have trouble sleeping, but this is problem due to going out a lot and not eating well. I've also noticed a general feeling of weakness of the limbs and when I walk around it kind of feels like Iím floating. There have been times when Iíve suddenly lost control of my knees and feel I need to hold on to things to stay standing. I've also noticed that I have some involuntary movements and spasms, usually my hands, fingers or feet, increasing in frequency of late. I have also had several blackouts. They don't last long (usually around 10 seconds) but I lose all control and fall over when it happens and it's not like Iíve been doing anything strenuous beforehand. I also feel like my hand-eye coordination has got worse; I now drop things when I feel like Iím holding them firmly.
I've also had many hallucinations; visual and audio. These include a lot of visual floaters and flashes, seeing things moving when they're not (sometimes from close by and looking at it for a while), seeing everything pulsing around me and sometimes seeing people from the corner of my eye, and then turning round and thereís nothing there. I sometimes hear people talking, possibly while Iím talking or maybe in a silent room, and ask them what they said, and they haven't spoken. I've also heard what can only really be described as a crescendo of traffic jams or crowds, particularly when tired. I believe Iíve also had phantom smells, but this harder to actually know if it's a hallucination.
Of late (as in the past two months, most of which I spent pretty sober) Iíve had some short term memory problems. This could be stuff like suddenly forgetting where Iím going, where I am, what Iím doing, what Iím saying, why Iím doing something, etc. It's as if in an instant I forget EVERYTHING, then in the next instant try and piece everything back together. This can seem to have effects for a couple of minutes. It seems to also be combined with a sudden change in mood and a feeling of being very spaced out and withdrawn. I've had difficulty in concentrating and holding focus, particularly when on the computer or around strobe lighting. I've started to mix words up when speaking and slur a lot more. I've also started to get something in the past couple of weeks that I find hard to explain. It's like my brain gets stuck on one thought and keeps holding on to it, but I feel very uncomfortable and frustrated; unable to speak or move and feeling like I can't breathe, then I suddenly feel like Iíve shaken it off.
As well as all this, I feel like Iíve started to lose my grasp on reality. I often get dreams mixed up with reality and have feelings of deja vu. I sometimes get places mixed up, when they bare no physical resemblance and kind of feel like Iím dreaming. Last week I also had an inexplicable feeling of vertigo, despite only being on the 1st floor.
I realise this is a long post, but I want to give out all the information. Does it sound like I should seek help or advice? What's causing it? Is it one thing?

Giles


 

another_someone

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #1 on: 07/04/2008 09:41:44 »
As you say, it needs to be looked at.  I can imagine any number of causes, from the trivial (e.g. some vitamin deficiencies, or circulation problems) to the very serious, but if not looked at, even if it is trivial now it may not remain so.
 

Offline techmind

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #2 on: 07/04/2008 17:38:43 »
You need to see your doctor. There could be a fairly simple physical cause (I'm not a medical doctor, but maybe low blood pressure, thyroid, ...?) which can be solved. Or there may be more serious causes. They can do tests for likely causes. It sounds like it's getting worse, and in any case you could be a danger to yourself if you blacked out in the middle of the road, or at the top of the stairs or something.
Go see your doctor as soon as possible :)
I wish you well.
« Last Edit: 07/04/2008 17:40:34 by techmind »
 

Offline iko

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #3 on: 07/04/2008 18:05:03 »
You need to see your doctor. There could be a fairly simple physical cause (I'm not a medical doctor, but maybe low blood pressure, thyroid, ...?) which can be solved. Or there may be more serious causes. They can do tests for likely causes. It sounds like it's getting worse, and in any case you could be a danger to yourself if you blacked out in the middle of the road, or at the top of the stairs or something.
Go see your doctor as soon as possible :)
I wish you well.

Of course I agree with you and George; but Giles doesn't seem to be able to see a doctor, otherwise he would have done so.
He's looking for help right here (nice club for mental people!).
I think we should ask him more details about his lifestyle for a start: work, activities and diet...
And try to help him through this 'chat' forum.
Yes, www.supportive care

ikoD
« Last Edit: 07/04/2008 18:06:39 by iko »
 

Offline rosalind dna

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #4 on: 07/04/2008 20:17:25 »
You need to see your doctor. There could be a fairly simple physical cause (I'm not a medical doctor, but maybe low blood pressure, thyroid, ...?) which can be solved. Or there may be more serious causes. They can do tests for likely causes. It sounds like it's getting worse, and in any case you could be a danger to yourself if you blacked out in the middle of the road, or at the top of the stairs or something.
Go see your doctor as soon as possible :)
I wish you well.

Of course I agree with you and George; but Giles doesn't seem to be able to see a doctor, otherwise he would have done so.
He's looking for help right here (nice club for mental people!).
I think we should ask him more details about his lifestyle for a start: work, activities and diet...
And try to help him through this 'chat' forum.
Yes, www.supportive care

ikoD


I agree with both of you but as to the title of epilepsy being a mental illness well since I am epileptic and in no way mentally ill, A condition controllable by medication.

Which would help Giles if he could get up the courage to go and see his doctor. If he's really nervous of doctors then take along a friend.
 

another_someone

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #5 on: 07/04/2008 20:40:05 »
I did not respond to the term "mental illness", because to be honest it is a fairly meaningless term anyway.  It is a pejorative term that has no medical meaning.
 

Offline rosalind dna

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #6 on: 07/04/2008 22:11:42 »
I did not respond to the term "mental illness", because to be honest it is a fairly meaningless term anyway.  It is a pejorative term that has no medical meaning.
I know and I wasn't referrring to you but the title of this thread it's been bothering me all day. Thanks for telling all the same. Yes it does
 

Offline Giles

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #7 on: 12/04/2008 05:12:17 »
Cheers for all your replies. They've helped. I wasn't sure i should see a doctor. I since have and have had blood tests. I think, through reading the first line of a site and it being almost word for word what the doctor said to me, that she thinks i may have schizophrenia or some of the other things with similar symptoms; ie, thyroid problem, drug use, epilepsy, tumour, diet problems and things like that. The results will be back next week.
I didnt mean to offend with the title, i didnt give it much thought, but i did think it was mental as oopposed to physical. I don't really know though so could be wrong.
Another thing i thought id mention is that when i was 4-5 i had pretty intense encephilitus. Would that make some things more likely?
 

Offline techmind

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #8 on: 18/04/2008 11:12:14 »
Glad you're making some progress. Let us know how you get on.
 

Offline Giles

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #9 on: 28/04/2008 04:42:37 »
I've since had the results back. She thought that i could have a lot of things, but tested diabetes, anemia, thyroid, white blood cells, liver and possibly some other things that i didnt think of. My heart rate and breathing were fine apparently, my blood pressure was higher than it should have been, but maybe just because i was seeing a doctor. All the tests came back fine too and she said that before she tests for other things she wanted me to wait til after my deadlines. She told me to eat better and try and sleep better (i wasnt sleeping well or eating enough really, and probably not the right things).
Since then i've gone out less, and eaten/drank better. I've smoked less as well, and i don't really feel generally ill anymore, but most of the other things are still there. I may have had less hallucinations, but certainly not none. I've started to get a persistant phantom smell of wet rubbish that i can't really explain. I havn't been hearing as much but i still see and feel things. I was in the library once and thought someone touched my shoulder and jumped up really fast, but no one was there. Everyone was looking at me for quite some time. I've noticed that when resting i seem to spasm quite a lot and twitch, definately more than i did a year ago (i dont remember twitching much at all back then). I've noticed that if i pull a certain face my whole face starts twitching pretty quickly. I thought of this as normal, but everyone i know gets pretty scared when i show them so i thought that maybe that shouldnt happen.
Now i dont feel so ill i've noticed that i do feel very tired a lot. I don't sleep well at all and can't really remedy it. Sometimes i can lie in bed for hours and nothing happens, so i just get up and don't bother sleeping or go to bed in the morning. I can stay up for over 24 hours at times without being able to sleep, but feeling exhausted. I wake up after like every hour as well, sometimes i can't go back to sleep. When i do wake up i don't feel like i've slept for long and feel mind numbingly depressed, but as the day goes on it wears off. My dreams seem really vivd and i get them mixed up with whats really happened quite a lot.
A couple of other things i feel i should mention: my house had a mouse problem, and i found out i was scared of mice pretty bad. I saw one in my room and had a panic attack. This was at the start of the year, when all the problems seem to have progressed from. There are very few now, but i do hallucinate at times and see something (it's very breif and i know it wasn't really there). But even when i know it wasn't real, or at times when i just thought about a mouse in my room, i start having a panic attack type hing again and get really anxious (in reality, i'm standing in my room on my chair and being scared of absolutely nothing). I think now that this doesn't really sound like epilepsy. Another thing, i had encephilitus when i was young. I don't know if this makes some things more likely. Any ideas on what it could be? Also, what should i be telling my doctor as main problems, i seem to be forgetting the most important things?
 

Offline Giles

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #10 on: 28/04/2008 04:46:16 »
I forgot. Kind of on a side note, but i also get mouth ulcers all the time, like they never go away. I've always got at least one as far as i can tell and they hurt. Why is this? Is it smoking? Could it be connected?
 

Offline rosalind dna

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #11 on: 28/04/2008 11:02:24 »
It's Ok, Giles and good luck. yes you did the right thing in going to your doctor.
It must be a small relief for you to know what is partly wrong.
 

Offline RD

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #12 on: 28/04/2008 13:56:32 »
Quote
I forgot. Kind of on a side note, but i also get mouth ulcers all the time, like they never go away. I've always got at least one as far as i can tell and they hurt. Why is this? Is it smoking? Could it be connected?

Hi Giles,
there could be a connection between your brain inflammation [encephalitis] and your chronic mouth ulcers; vasculitis. Vasculitic syndromes such as systemic vasculitis, Lupus, Sjogrens syndrome, neuro-Behcet can produce brain inflammation [cerebral vasculitis] and ulceration of mucus membrane [mouth nose gut]. Cerebral vasculitis could cause the cognitive dysfunction, seizures [blackouts] spasticity and other motor problems you report. Vasculitis of the cranial nerves could cause visual and olfactory hallucinations. Vasculitis would also cause hypertension [high blood pressure].

I suggest that you ask you doctor to investigate the diagnosis of a vasculitic syndrome.

Quote
Almost all of those with Behcet's suffer recurrent painful mouth ulcers that can make eating extremely difficult. Recurrent genital ulceration, inflammation of the eye (called uveitis) and skin lesions, such as an acne-like rash and red bumpy nodules (called erythema nodosum), occur.

If the joints are affected, then painful arthritis occurs and can cause severe disability. Sometimes the nerves and brain are affected, leading to impaired balance, speech and memory loss.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/conditions/behcets1.shtml
« Last Edit: 28/04/2008 14:29:46 by RD »
 

Offline Bizzy

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #13 on: 29/04/2008 16:32:45 »
Are you being treated for epilepsy, schizophrenia or any of the symptoms you have described. If so, what are the treatments being given ? If not then why are you not being treated ?
Has your doctor ever talked about referral to a neurologist ? If not then ask him why he/she thinks a referral is not needed.
« Last Edit: 29/04/2008 16:35:30 by Bizzy »
 

Offline Giles

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #14 on: 29/04/2008 19:19:41 »
I'm not being treated for anything or seeing any specialists. I don't know why in short. I reckon it's because i keep seeing different people and i don't think anyones getting the full picture, even though my notes are being shared. It's hard to get appointments and it's the university medical centre i'm going to, which is shared by the rest of the thousands of students. The main reason i started this thread was to see if i was going to be making something out of very little and so i could have some idea before i went in. I Don't want to say to much because i feel i might get treated as a hypachondriac. When i'm there though i never seem to remember what i should be saying, like which symptoms are most likely to point them in the right direction. Any ideas on that?
 

Offline Bizzy

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #15 on: 30/04/2008 01:11:55 »
I know what you mean about there being a different doctor each time you visit the surgery. It happens to me also and so situation is created where the doctor never appreciates the full picture.
I think you have done an excellent job of explaining your illness on the first post you made. The best advice I can give is to get all those points across to the doctor. Keep making appointments and see your doctor many times. After all you still have the symptoms and they havent made a clear diagnosis or provided treatment.
 

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #16 on: 30/04/2008 01:52:06 »
Try keeping a diary of events that you think should be told to your doctor (i.e. every time you have any kind of attack, write it down), and take this along with you on your next appointment with your doctor.
 

Offline RD

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #17 on: 02/05/2008 14:46:52 »
Quote
I Don't want to say to much because i feel i might get treated as a hypachondriac. When i'm there though i never seem to remember what i should be saying, like which symptoms are most likely to point them in the right direction. Any ideas on that?


Hi Giles,
If you do have a vasculitic syndrome, (vasculitis affecting several areas throughout your body), then I have a couple of suggestions which could help you avoid a protracted diagnosis, (and a brain biopsy).

   Vasculitis routinely produces lesions on mucous membranes (e.g. mouth ulcers) and skin: mucocutaneous manifestations. If you have these lesions you should photograph them to show you doctors. One to look out for is ďsplinter haemorrhagesĒ which are tiny black/rust coloured marks under the finger/toe nails. Other skin manifestations include ďpurpuraĒ which looks like acne.
    Vasculitic syndromes are often photosensitive: exposing skin to ultra-violet light (sunlight) can cause an exacerbation of all affected areas, (i.e. skin and internal organs). This photosensitivity may produce a rash which only occurs on sun-exposed skin, if you experience such rashes photograph them to show your doctors.
    If possible you should video the twitching (myoclonus) to show your doctor (neurologist) as this is strong evidence that your condition is neurogenic not psychogenic, i.e. a hardware problem not a software problem, (not hypochondria).
    Vasculitis often affects kidney function, this results in high levels protein in urine: proteinuria. A sign of proteinuria is very frothy urine, if you have this symptom tell your doctors.   

It may seem odd to be paying attention to mucous membranes, skin, nails and urine when you apparently have a neurological disorder affecting your brain, but recording any signs of vasculitis will help your doctors diagnose and treat you promptly, and could help you avoid a brain biopsy.


Photos of purpura and splinter hemorrhages can be seen here
http://vasculitis.med.jhu.edu/typesof/polyangiitis.html
« Last Edit: 02/05/2008 16:41:56 by RD »
 

Offline Giles

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #18 on: 13/05/2008 19:21:39 »
I've had another appointment today and i think i got everything across. The main reason i was going was to get some medication to help me sleep because i couldn't sleep right at all and wandered if maybe this was the cause for a lot of my symptoms (that and course related stress). Once i explained most of the symptoms to the doctor she said that some of the things didn't sound possible for sleep deprivation, but to see if it is that i've got some sleeping pills. After taking them for like a week my symptoms should stop, unless i have something else. She seemed to think i could have schizophrenia or depression, but said if the symptoms are still there then i should see a specialist. I think everything is finally being sorted now.
Although i still don't know whats wrong my doctor said that most of the things it's most likely to be are treated the same way, so what it is in particular isn't so important. I knid of see her point.
I was wandering though, if i do have schizophrenia or depression, how would they be treated? Would it be CBT or like actual medication? Or a combination? Any ideas?
 

Offline RD

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #19 on: 27/05/2008 13:54:28 »
I've had another appointment today and i think i got everything across. The main reason i was going was to get some medication to help me sleep because i couldn't sleep right at all and wandered if maybe this was the cause for a lot of my symptoms (that and course related stress). Once i explained most of the symptoms to the doctor she said that some of the things didn't sound possible for sleep deprivation, but to see if it is that i've got some sleeping pills. After taking them for like a week my symptoms should stop, unless i have something else. She seemed to think i could have schizophrenia or depression, but said if the symptoms are still there then i should see a specialist. I think everything is finally being sorted now.
Although i still don't know whats wrong my doctor said that most of the things it's most likely to be are treated the same way, so what it is in particular isn't so important. I knid of see her point.
I was wandering though, if i do have schizophrenia or depression, how would they be treated? Would it be CBT or like actual medication? Or a combination? Any ideas?

Yes Giles you could end up on some of the same medications whether you had cerebral vasculitis or schizophrenia , e.g. anti-psychotic drugs. However you should see a specialist (neurologist) to explore the possibility that you have an organic ďhardwareĒ problem like vasculitis. If you actually have vasculitis but were wrongly diagnosed as schizophrenic you would not receive the appropriate medication, e.g. the anti-inflammatory & immune-suppressant medications which are used to treat vasculitis would not be given to treat schizophrenia.   Please show your specialist (neurologist) a video of your twitching (myoclonus/fasciculation): you could  post the video on You-tube, or use a mobile phone to record this important symptom. You should record the myoclonus/fasciculation before you are prescribed anti-psychotic medications as this twitching could otherwise be misinterpreted as a side-effect of the anti-psychotic drug.

You have given an extensive description of your symptoms, but you have not mentioned you family's medical history, it may be relevant, e.g. a family history of kidney disease, or stroke at an early age would support a diagnosis of vascular disease.

 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #20 on: 27/05/2008 18:17:18 »
Giles describe the surrounding area you live in, not the name of the place or anything just a general description and whether you live in a basement, on a hillside, river valley area or close to the coast. When did these begin in? was it in relation to moving to a new area or home?

Lack of sleep could answer a lot of your problems, and possibly cause you to panic which would further compound any problems.

Do you find it easier to sleep in a chair?
 

Offline OldDragon

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #21 on: 26/06/2008 09:16:48 »
Hi Giles, there are a few little things in what you have said that make me wonder how often and in what quantities, you might be consuming alcohol?

If you'd rather PM me on that score, feel free to do so. I was also a student once upon a time, certainly neglected my diet back then (beans on toast being the staple student dish at that time) and most certainly overdid the alcohol consumption. Being then considered as 'one of the boys', and indulging in a variety of drinking games with male friends on a regular basis, I know what lads get up to when together. We had  quite a lucrative sideline to studies at that time - with my 'specialist skill' something pals would gamble on, backing me to drink any stranger under the table. (Lads or grown men with macho egos to uphold were ripe for that sting.) Then I had a very high tolerance to alcohol, and despite being female and invariably having less bodyweight than my male opponents. I got a generous cut from the acting bookmaker, believe me.

IF you are drinking a fair bit, then it could easily account for some symptoms you describe, but that's not to suggest you shouldn't follow up on the suggestions made already but I would also suggested that you mention to your doctor honestly what your alcohol consumption is. Some people have a very low tolerance to it, and can be affected by half a pint of beer, others don't appear visibly affected by the equivalent of sinking a bottle of scotch or more - even if it does eventually catch up with them, trust me! When I started getting some of the symptoms that you describe, I never thought to mention to my doctor what I was chucking down my neck, or even make the possible connection. Why would I when it was me walking upright out of the pubs and counting the profits after a good night out with pals? The fact that you have mentioned it, and blackouts etc., makes me think that you might already have your own suspicions.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #22 on: 26/06/2008 10:44:44 »
Great advise!

Try keeping a diary of events that you think should be told to your doctor (i.e. every time you have any kind of attack, write it down), and take this along with you on your next appointment with your doctor.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
« Reply #23 on: 30/06/2008 18:47:23 »
As a sufferer of the bipolar disorder I would really advise you to see a doctor. If you have some mental disorder modern medice can controll nearly anything and lead you back to normal life

Good luck

Alan
 

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Could i have epilepsy or some other mental illness?
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