Could this be a seizure?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    difficult child 2 mentioned today that in class lately he's been "zoning out" for five minutes at a time or so. He says he just sort of mentally goes off and doesn't remember anything, his eyes sort of black out and then he realizes he's not paying attention to his surroundings, thinks it's only been a few seconds, but looks at the clock and sees that five minutes or so have elapsed.

    Now this seems like a pretty specific account of something that's happening. He also said it's happened a lot lately, and happened last year in school as well.

    When I add all this up and combine it with an incident two years ago where he claimed to have blacked out (another student witnessed him falling) and hit his head on the white board in class, it makes me wonder if he's having seizures.

    Has anyone else's child had these kinds of things happened? What did you end up doing about it?

    Can it explain his mood problems and the ADHD symptoms or is it unrelated?
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    There is a kind of epilepsy (Temporal Lobe Epilepsy) whose symptoms mimic Bipolar Disorder. It's mentioned in the book The Bipolar Child by Demitri and Janice Papolos. I'd strongly recommend an evaluation with a pediatric neurologist, which should include an MRI and EEG. The interesting thing about treatment is that many anticonvulsants used to treat seizures (for example, Depakote, Lamictal, Trileptal and Tegretol) are also used for mood stabilization.
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    There are many, many different symptoms of seizures. I had no idea there were so many, but yes, these could be seizures, and uncontrolled seizures can have a profound impact on behavior.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Also wanted to add that high levels of stimulants, as well as atypical antipsychotics like Abilify, can lower the seizure threshold. Your difficult child is on a very high dose of Focalin XR.
  5. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    The only way you will know it to get your difficult child into a neurologist.
  6. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    Not a doctor but I'd say it's a definite possibility.

    Regarding your question about whether seizures could be related to his behaviors: heck yeah, if he's having seizures. When my son was having uncontrolled seizures I could predict when one was coming based on his erratic, revved-up behaviors. I could also watch him getting progressively weirder and wilder as he had a few in a single day. (COMPLETELY without impulse control, sobbing for no reason, and unable to think of common words like "sofa").

    Good luck, and remember that even without anything actually showing up on the MRI or EEG, they still might be seizures. Sometimes neurology is just as vague as psychiatry. Ugh!
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    If it were me, I'd get difficult child to a neurologist asap.
  8. kris

    kris New Member

    there's only one way to find out for sure. get him scheduled for an evaluation with-a pediatric neuro just as soon as you can. have difficult child start keeping a record of his blackouts. documentation is very important & can help the doctor see if there is any rhyme or reason to what's going on.

  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    To piggyback Kris, also have him record what he was doing and feeling up to the time he blacked out, and then what he did/felt like after.
  10. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    From his description, it sounds like a complex partial seizure. They can appear very much like absence seizure (aka petit mal seizures) except they last much longer.

    As smallworld mentioned, Abilify and all the antipsychotics can lower the seizure threshold. Focalin and all the stims can lower the seizure threshold, too. And the maximum recommended dose of Focalin is 20 mg/day.

    Keep in mind, also, that only about 50% of the cases of temporal lobe epilepsy are detected by EEGs because of location of the temporal lobe in the brain. MRIs will detect abnormalities in the brain but they do not detect seizure activity.