Could this be a partial seizure?

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/9/2005 1:20 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't know if these are panic attacks--I don't know if it's dissociation...On Friday my pdoc said said partial seizures are a possibilty, which cause a panic response. The term "cognitive slippage" seems like the best way to describe it. It doesn't start with a conscious thought...and there are no external cues I'm aware of that precipitate it. It starts with a vague feeling of a slowing of time. I'm not scared at this point, I just feel...dreamy. Things seem to move in slow motion. Within moments my throte tightens and my arms tingle. I just feel strange. Within about another minute, I become terribly confused- my thoughts, my senses seem all out of sync. Only THEN do I become terrified. For example, this happened this afternoon, I was driving, and when I started to feel confused I pulled over. I stuck three xanax under my tongue. I watched the cars passing me, but didn't hear the "vroooom" they made as they passed until they were out of sight. Does this make sense? it was soo surreal. My leg and arm muscles were spasming, and all my limbs felt numb and tingly. I had a weird rash across my chest and neck, I felt nauseous. I couldn't stop holding my breath- it was awful just trying to take a breath, it was like i had to concentrate soo intensely just to do that. I had to concentrate SO MUCH just to will my hand to move to turn off my engine, my body felt like it wasnt mine, I knew how absurd that was but it felt so real. I curled up in my seat and closed my eyes, but that was worse, because then I got paranoid, thinking, this is what psychosis feels like. I felt so DUMB, i couldnt put together a string of thoughts, and all my senses were meshed- I'd move my hand and see it move, but didn't FEEL it move for a few seconds later, after it was resting on my leg again. I sat paralized with fear for i dont know how long, and then, still not any less confused, drove home at 10 miles per hour, i ran into my house and curled up on the floor beside my front door.
this has happened before, once when i smoked pot, once after i missed two nights of sleep, and maybe 5 other times with no trigger at all. Is this a panic attack!? My doctor says probably, hence the xanax, but the xanax doesnt help! it helps with general anxiety, which i have occassionally, usually in social situations. But these suppossed panic attacks never happen when I feel even mildly anxious, always completely out of the blue, and I dont panick untill after my thoughts slow and my muscles twitch and my body numbs...
BUT, i think i'm really skilled at suppressing dread, to the point of where im not even conscious of it, and perhaps thats why it seems to start with my body?
Are these symptoms i described common in panic attacks? they last much longer than normal panic attacks- usually an hour or longer.
im unnerved, afraid itll happen again
This was more than just feeling "foggy", it felt closer to an out - of-body experience, but not quite...
I want to put a label on this, "Panic Disorder" doesn't do it for me. It's too bizzarre- how i cant feel my body, how all my senses feel so jumbled, the fact that xanax doesnt help.
I've heard that "uncued" panic attacks always occur at least once for a diagnosis of panic disorder, but to my understanding, usually only the first panic attack one experiences is uncued.
But I've also heard that a full-fledged panic attack can begin with one single fleeting thought, even so brief that it isn't registered consiously.
ALTHOUGH, I am wondering if the panic I experience is a response to the "cognitive slippage"- because I always feel confused and disoriented, dissociated BEFORE i become scared.
Does anyone know anything about Trasient Ischemic Attacks?
Whatever this is, I'm convinced its completely biological, I don't ruminate on paranoid thoughts even when it's happening, its more of a vague but overpowering FEELING of terror.
I wonder if beta-blockers are something I should try? I havent asked my doctor, and dont know how often they are prescribed or are effective in anxiety. Because it seems to me that my fear begins AFTER my bodily symptoms- and possibly this is an adrenalin rush?

Is there such thing as an "adrenaline disorder"?
Or could this be a partial seizure?
Or a TIA?
Because I really dont think this is "only" anxiety.

I am taking zoloft also, which helps with my chronic depression, but has not lessened these "attacks".

anyone knowladgable with panic disorders, dissociation....or trippy out-of-body feelings, can you tell me anything?
I'm sorry this is long, but I'm so lost, and anything you can share would be helpful.

Some more symptoms, when panic isn't invovled- sometimes I become terribly confused and can't recall obvious things and have trouble understanding speech. this is always fleeting. I often feel "spacy", I can stare at a wall for hours sometimes. Sometimes theres an unexplainable coppery taste in my mouth...maybe everyone gets that sometimes...

When there is a panic response, often things look too far away, and have trouble feeling how my body is positioned- I'll end up sitting in an abnormal position for a long time and not realize it, to later find that I'm sore. Everything in my feild of vision is out of perspective- the horizen seems to go onnn and onn and onn..things seem crooked.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/9/2005 9:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Jenniffer. Yes, next week I will ask my pdoc for a referel to a neurologist.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 585
   Posted 6/10/2005 6:20 AM (GMT -7)   
I agree, the best thing is to see a neuro for a full work up. If short EEG does not show something maybe an ambulatory 24-48 hour EEG would....
I hope you find answers soon. Sounds very scary....
Glad you are heading to your doc soon.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 6/10/2005 11:35 PM (GMT -7)   


you have a complex situation and definitely need some answers.  The fact that you are driving and having an episode that compromises your consciousness is very scary.  You shouldn't be driving if there is any question about your performance behind the wheel.  A good examination by your doctor and neurologist are a must.

While your description sounds like it could be a partial seizure, there are other conditions that your doctor would have to look into as well.  Anxiety can mimic anything, from what I know, and TIA's are a neurologic problem that you could ask the neuro about.  I would guess you might be getting some further neuro tests, like an EEG done, and/or other tests based on what you have said about your symptoms.

I was on a beta-blocker, propranolol, for a number of years, due to tremors from my anticonvulsants.  It also did wonders to control symptoms of sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat.

Keep us updated on what's happening.     Glenda :-)

complex partial seizures since 22
lamictal 200mg 2x/d
zonegran 150mg 3/d

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 6/15/2005 10:23 AM (GMT -7)   
I agree... getting a referral to a neurologist would be a smart thing to do. Its a second opinion, and one from an expert in the field.

I've had panic attacks myself, and I have temporal lope epilepsy, but I've not experienced exactly what you describe. For me, the feeling of dread/paranoia/panic is heavily associated with the panic attacks, yet the senses gone all wonky and the out of body feelings are a very good description of one of my partial seizures. For me the room feels like it is slightly spinning vertically (over me rather than around me) and I start to feel like my body is not my own. Sounds sometimes sound as though they are far off, and I often get an intense feeling of deja vu.

So to me (I'm no expert.. only go by my own experience and what I've learned from my docs), it sounds like you are describing BOTH a panic attack and a partial seizure. And cruelly enough, epilepsy often does go hand-in-hand with anxiety disorders. This is all the more reason to see a neurologist as well as your pdoc, and most likely have some testing done.

I'm so sorry you are experiencing this :( Just be reassured that there are definitely some of us out there who have experienced the same or similar events. I hope the doc can find some answers for ya

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