Auras And Panic Attacks: Can You Always Tell The Difference? | MyEpilepsyTeam

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Auras And Panic Attacks: Can You Always Tell The Difference?
A MyEpilepsyTeam Member asked a question 💭

I have chronic horrible panic attacks and often times they feel identical to auras. I feel and see the same things. How many of you also experience this?

posted August 20, 2019
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A MyEpilepsyTeam Member

I can only tell you my experience. I have had hundreds of seizure auras that usually include fear, dread, or a sense of doom. Seizure auras are now classified as seizures known as simple partial (focal aware) seizures. Mine last seconds to 2 minutes and usually include other specific symptoms, while my doctor said panic attacks usually last at least 5-10 minutes. I hope you get this worked out and under control with your doctor soon so you don't have to suffer so much.

posted August 20, 2019
A MyEpilepsyTeam Member

Jonsongs i have those same feelings. Kinda thought maybe they were panic attacks or side effects of my medications. But the specialist i am now seeing asked me about how my "episodes" as i called them because they were not like the full blown ones i have and he said that that was probably simple partials. I know my daddy has panic attacks. But i dont breathe fast or anything like that. Just a prickly feeling all over, fast heart rate, and feeling like something really bad is about to happen.

posted August 20, 2019
A MyEpilepsyTeam Member

My aura is my thumb having a twitch feeling or like an electric shock
(This happens everyday)
Those are my partials
Only last one second
(I know, sounds silly,but they come with a heart drop feeling,because it reminds me of my seizures,which suck)

I went through a phase where
I would wake in hands would heart would beat so fast .. and my thumb would keep twitching and definitely the feeling of doom.fear .

And i would breathe deeply hoping it doesnt become a grandmal
Because thats how my big seizures progress (the stronger my aura,the more likely i will have a seizure)
That feeling would last about 3 mins...

Btw when i freaked out, it did become a seizure so now ive learnt i need to calm myself.

posted August 20, 2019
A MyEpilepsyTeam Member

Google a paper called "Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Differential Diagnoses" posted on the emedicine.medscape website and read the first paragraph titled "Diagnostic Considerations Panic disorder." Also, I have found that many doctors, healthcare workers, and even people with epilepsy are not aware that seizures classifications were completely revised in 2017 by the ILAE. I recommend anyone looking for seizure information to review the new classifications and find a neurologist that keeps up with times.

posted September 8, 2019
A MyEpilepsyTeam Member

@A MyEpilepsyTeam Member Thanks for the article reference! All great advice (regarding keeping up with the current classifications and having a neurologist who is), but the problem in the US (and probably in many other parts of the world because of the costs of schooling and of insurance to practice medicine, there is a crisis in the shortage of doctors (and definitely specialists like neurologists), thus many people not living in or near a large city do not have the option to find a neurologist who is young and up with the latest research and data with regards to epilepsy, seizure disorders, etc. Some people cannot find a neurologist at all. My neurologist is at least in his late 60s, and he is overwhelmed by having to be part of a medical association that has been gobbled up by Steward, thus doctors are supposed to be seeing patients like they are working in a fast-food restaurant to make sure that they can crank out seeing enough to make it more profitable for the for-profit company Steward. After my previous neurologist was forced to retire because of many errors from Alzheimer's, my current has been the only neurologist at this large medical group in Southeastern Massachusetts for 15 years (they had a young neurologist join and then quickly leave years ago and only this year have they finally added a new neurology department this year.

I am trying to get a new neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, but this will require my older sister to take a day off from work (elementary school teacher) whenever I get an appointment. Many do not have the option of a big sister/brother, significant other or adult child to provide transportation to the regional big city to have access to a neurologist who is up with the times. And, even with all of the research I did while I was working at the Treadwell Health Science Library at Massachusetts General Hospital for 14 years (2000 - 2014), and thus also know how to get the latest information, it comes down to memory recall (unless I happen to have notes in front of me) to remember the latest name the medical profession has for partial seizures and many of the other seizures. There are many others on here who do not have that level of experience and are on this site for being to be able to converse with friends who know exactly how they feel, so please stop grading people when they forget the new names for their seizure type. Are you commenting on spelling and grammar, etc. too?

posted September 11, 2019

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