Epilepsy Talk

Childhood Abuse and Epilepsy | February 7, 2010

All types of abuse — sexual, physical, and emotional (including verbal abuse and witnessing domestic violence) raise the risk of depression, anxiety and epilepsy-like symptoms.

Research featured in Harvard Mental Health Letter and published in The American Journal of Psychiatry looked at the damage that hostile words, and or yelling can have on a child.

They found “words are weapons that can cause lasting wounds, especially when wielded by parents against children. The damage is sometimes more serious and lasting than injuries that result from beatings”, say Harvard researchers reporting on a survey of young adults.

Basically, abuse releases a cascade of stress hormones which produces a lasting effect on brain signals.

Experiments at McLean Hospital, for example, show that patients with a history of abuse are twice as likely to show abnormal electrical activity as non abused people.

And this abnormal electrical brain activity, in turn, resembles a seizure state, but doesn’t actually produce epilepsy.

Hippocampal Sclerosis

This is a very common (but often unknown) feature of temporal lobe epilepsy.

Changes in the hippocampus — the part of the brain that deals with stress, learning and memory — can be caused by hormones flooding the brain during and after a stressful episode.

But the BIG question is whether hippocampal sclerosis is the consequence of repeated seizures, or whether it plays a role in the development of the epileptic focus?

NESD — Non Epileptic Seizure Disorder

A non-epileptic seizure is a short burst of activity that changes how you move, think, or feel. It looks like an epileptic seizure but there are no measurable electrical changes in the brain.

Not surprisingly, many people have a history of sexual or physical abuse. 75% to 85% are women between the ages of 15 to 35.

It’s a serious condition that shouldn’t be ignored. With early diagnosis and treatment, future problems can be averted.

Psychogenic Non Epileptic Seizures

These seizures are caused by psychological trauma or conflict that has a lasting effect on your state of mind.

The Epilepsy Foundation explains that sexual or physical abuse is the leading cause of psychogenic seizures, where the abuse occurred during childhood.

A psychogenic seizure can be confused with a grand-mal seizure — with convulsions, falling and shaking.

Less often, a psychogenic seizure takes on the form of a complex partial seizure, with a temporary loss of attention.

Because of the reasons for these psychogenic seizures, mental health counseling is encouraged. The prognosis is good, with 60 to 70 percent of patients alleviated of seizure symptoms.

“Children love and want to be loved and they very much prefer the joy of accomplishment to the triumph of hateful failure. Do not mistake a child for his symptom.” — Erik Erikson


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Another article of interest:
Violence and Epilepsy





  1. Hi Phylis, thank you for this important information. The last time I was in the hospital, I was diagnosed with NESD. I have both epilepsy and NESD. I do not know how long I have had it. I was diagnosed when I was 65.

    I was not pschycially abused when I was growing up. I was emotionally abused because it was a sin to have epilepsy.



    Comment by Ruth Brown — February 7, 2010 @ 6:43 AM

    • You weren’t diagnosed until you were 65? Even though you had epilepsy all this time.

      In my house it wasn’t a “sin” to have epilepsy (we were Jewish), it just was ignored and denied. Despite me having seizures 4 times a day…almost drowning in the shower…falling down stairs…walking into walls, etc.

      And my step-father was a surgeon, my step-mother a shrink!!! Pathetic.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 7, 2010 @ 6:57 AM

  2. Hi Phylis,

    You had a tougher time than I did.

    By “sin” I meant that it was a bad thing to have. I did not care, I told everyone anyway. I did not stay in the closet like a good girl. The attitude of my mother, sister and brother bothered me. That was where the emotional abuse came in.


    Comment by Ruth Brown — February 7, 2010 @ 7:09 AM

  3. Hi Phylis,

    I have a question. I’m 53 and newly dx w/ ADD. My mom had epilepsy for her whole life, grand mal seizures all the time. She was taking lot of pills for it back in the 60’s which made her tired and very agitated easily. She was extremely abusive with me both verbal and physical throughout my whole childhood usually without a real reason. Used to swing at me and chase me around with a broom sometimes. Usually this would get her excited and she would fall and have a seizure which then was my fault and her side of the family would then also verbally abuse me for being “mean” “hitting” my mother. All I would do is hold up my arms to block her swings. This went on and on. Could this type of abuse cause me to have all this ADD problem in my life. I have had a train wreck with relationships including my current marriage. My self esteem seems to be non-exsistent.



    Comment by Don Hasner — July 18, 2010 @ 3:38 AM

    • First, let’s talk about your mother. There’s a likely chance that she had what’s known as “psychotic epilepsy.” There are many ways that epilepsy may be associated with schizophrenia-like psychosis.

      It’s likely that structural brain abnormalities underlie both epilepsy and psychosis, and that the seizures appear as a psychotic episode. So, it’s confusing, because often it’s difficult to distinguish between the two.

      That being said, your mom was pretty sick, physically and psychologically. And the meds back then were enough to make you crazy even if you weren’t before!

      I was diagnosed in 1965 and my choices were phenobarbitol and dialantin. Both were awful. And psychiatric drugs were in their infancy back then too. So who knows what kind of effect the drugs had on her? But either way, it was no picnic for you.

      Now, on to you. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, report on Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect: “Outcomes of individual cases vary widely and are affected by a combination of factors, including:

      The child’s age and developmental status when the abuse or neglect occurred…

      The type of abuse (physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, etc.)…

      The frequency, duration, and severity of abuse…

      The relationship between the victim and his or her abuser…

      Psychological and emotional conditions associated with abuse and neglect include panic disorder, dissociative disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, anger, posttraumatic stress disorder, and reactive attachment disorder.”


      So the bad news is that you’ve suffered a lot. The good news is that you don’t have ALL of these problems.

      As one who was verbally abused and neglected by a narcissistic mother, I have deep scars, too. They’re just a little bit different — as are we all.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 18, 2010 @ 4:48 AM

  4. I have panic attacks and severe depression. I do not know if it is from childhood or from my medications. Probably my medicines.

    When I went to the hospital to have my colonoscopy, they showed me that I do not have epilepsy at all. I do have epilepsy.


    Comment by Ruth Brown — July 18, 2010 @ 9:43 AM

    • Ah, but how did they test you for epilepsy? Or did they just do a cursory EEG to cover themselves?

      Why would you be having seizures when they took away your meds…then recover once they gave them to you again?


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 18, 2010 @ 8:12 PM

  5. My mother is a narcissistic-no love ever shown. My brother is just like her. I hungered and hurt for love, but it is not there. I was emotionally and mentally abused when I was small and it is still going on today as they are still living. I am now 56. I have been diagnosed with epilepsy. I live with my husband and not with them, thank the Good Lord, but it is still going on. My Dad, loving and a kind man, had epilepsy, but out grew it. I have two first cousins on my Dad’s side that has epilepsy. I have had lots of tests, but could this be mental? Just wondering???


    Comment by Cheryl Johnson — February 9, 2011 @ 7:59 PM

  6. Cheryl,

    Welcome! Have you ever been to a neurologist and been tested? Do you have seizures? Or had the luxury of going to a “talk” therapist? I find that and the meds I take, do me a world of good.

    All types of abuse — sexual, physical, and emotional (including verbal abuse and witnessing domestic violence) raise the risk of depression, anxiety and epilepsy-like symptoms.

    I was also abused emotionally. My mother, step- father (who was a surgeon!), and step-mother (who was a SHRINK!) never ever mentioned the “E” word.

    It’s as if I was damaged goods and they assured me I’d never amount to anything.

    Well, here I am at 57, a successful copywriter, happily married, with a wonderful life.

    I think you have to just let it go. (My mother is quite the same as yours!)


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 9, 2011 @ 8:09 PM

  7. my sister hid me when i was 3 and said dont move untill i come back 4 you she was 5years she put her self in a walldrobe hands over ears untill mum and dad stoped fighting.she left home at 21 married they dident put the phone on and had no car to start a new life 4 themself.i was left behind someone got me out of home i was 33 but he never married me because my parents didnt like him my aunty told me to go back home my mother needs me,isaid no 4 three years my mum didnt speak to me because i fell in love with some one else .know i have a daughter 7 . married 16 years ,got told i have epilipsy taken to hospitial twise my mother tryed to jump out of my car she said she she wanted to get away from me.help.bel


    Comment by Belinda jordan — May 16, 2011 @ 6:42 AM

    • You might try have nothing to do with your mom and focus on taking care of u and n
      Baby’s needs. You may be better able to see what’s in ur life without other peoples added drama and emotions that go with all that.
      In my experience. I have complex partials that are triggered by intense emotions and make people freak out around me, most people. Otherwise everything okay. Good to deep stretch and sit and breath and listen to ur breath. Those help everyday calm the body lower seizures. Important because seizures can create dangerous situations. Drugs help some people not me. This is what helps me. Aloha.


      Comment by Suri — September 21, 2013 @ 12:34 AM

      • Suri, I agree. Better to dwell in the here and now.

        But it’s sometimes difficult to get rid of the baggage. Turn off the tape.

        I say that because I was homeless at a young age.

        And I’m still temtped to steal the silverware, zillions of years later.

        I don’t know why i thought silverware would help us eat.

        But who can understand what goes through the mind of an eight year old?

        Now, I have a wonderful husband who even bought the house, so I’d nevered feel threatened or fearful of being homeless.

        I have a terrific life. But sometimes that tape just stubbornly plays back.


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 21, 2013 @ 11:44 AM

  8. Wow! I’m breathless Belinda…

    I can understand why your sister left home at 21…even though she didn’t have a car. (Having no phone could have been an advantage!)

    I have a friend who got married at 17 and is still happily married (although most people who get married just to “get out” aren’t usually so lucky.)

    I left home at 18, but I didn’t want to get married because I was afraid I would end up like my parents in each of their various marriages. (They were ALL awful!)

    The marriages all had one thing in common — screaming, yelling and emotional abuse.

    How you stayed “home” until 33 is a miracle. And it certainly didn’t help that your auntie was manipulating you big time.

    I think your mother was yanking your chain also. She sounds like a pretty toxic person.

    I speak from experience. My mother is manipulative, narcissistic, and plain old mean. (She used to tell me EVERY day how ugly I was. I guess it made her feel good.)

    I tried to make things “right” with her until I was 54. Then she said something to my husband that was so outrageous and so disrespectful, I snapped. (Hurt me, but don’t screw with the ones I love.)

    I am now 58 and have not spoken to her ever since.

    Oh, did I forget to tell you she’s an alcoholic and a liar? That she burned down her kitchen and even managed to set fire to a toaster oven?

    Although every effort (2 stints in rehab, where somehow or other, she manged to sneak in vodka.) has been made…she’s never going to change.

    My husband — angel that he is — pays her rent, insurance, doctors, meds and a top notch Geriatric Care Manager. I don’t know how he finds it in his heart to do this. She’s been nothing but abusive to him the entire time I had a “relationship” with her.

    Belinda, please don’t let your mother torture you with abuse and guilt. You deserve so much more than that. I know she’s your mother, there’s no denying that, but you have to learn to protect yourself, your family and your inner feelings.

    There are many people out there who love you. Focus on them.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 16, 2011 @ 2:52 PM

  9. I have had seizures since I was a small child.I was sexually, mentally and emotionally abused!I became the parent to my older brother,my mother and my step father!And cared for my two grandmothers!By age 33 I was having 50 to 60 a day! I found a surgeon that did surgery on my brain in 2010 and have been seizure free since!!!!But, I had lived my life with no emotion now they are non stop!And all the memories I had managed to block all hit me at one time and they are also non stop!And I hadn’t been able to cry since I was a small child!But,since surgery I do it for no reason at all! So now I feel like maybe it would be better just to have the seizures!I weighed 85 pounds when I went in for surgery now I am 130 pounds!So now I am back to the anorexia!I just wish I knew how to tell the good from the bad emotions maybe life would be better!


    Comment by Sharon M. Eubank — November 27, 2011 @ 6:53 PM

    • I promise when you go through processing your life even if it’s nonstop flashing fast memories and emotional flood now, it will be really great. Think of what you’ve been through you have a lot to heal from and your body is repairing at a lighting rate and it’s going through a regeneration as you heal and yes it’s very painful and beautiful and wondrous that your body can heal such trauma. So be easy and kind to yourself going through this and trust your body’s wisdom to deal with your past as it is. It will start to slow as you ease past some things. Biofeedback or nuerofeedback can help train your body to relax as you go through this and help with your pain. Congrats on ur successful surgery and starting your healing journey to a great siezure free life!
      Ps one good thing to remember is that it will pass. it passes with time just like other pain or good sensation.


      Comment by Suri — September 21, 2013 @ 12:44 AM

      • Biofeedback / Neurofeedback are inspired suggestions. It’s basically retrainig your brain.

        Since the 1970′s, researchers have demonstrated in over 50 controlled studies that a special form of brain wave biofeedback – now called “neurofeedback”– safely and effectively trains the brain to stabilize its activity.

        The treatment has been used successfully with all types of seizure disorders. Often the effects are permanent.



        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 21, 2013 @ 12:04 PM

  10. You might be suffering from Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures – (PNES)

    Defined by the Epilepsy Foundation, a psychogenic seizure is considered a non-epileptic seizure. They’re seizures caused by psychological trauma or conflict that impacts the patient’s state of mind.

    The Epilepsy Foundation states that sexual or physical abuse is the leading cause of psychogenic seizures, where the abuse occurred during childhood or more recently: life changes, like death and divorce are another possible cause of a psychogenic seizures. This form of seizure often resembles a complex partial or tonic-clonic (grand-mal) seizure, with generalized convulsions, stiffening, jerking, falling, shaking and crying. Less often, a psychogenic seizure resembles a complex partial seizure, with a temporary loss of attention.

    Interestingly, about 1 in 6 of these patients either already has epileptic seizures or has had them. So different treatment is needed for each disorder. Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures are most often seen in adolescents and young adults, but they also can occur in children and the elderly. And they are three times more common in females!

    Doctors have identified certain kinds of movements and patterns that seem to be more common in psychogenic seizures than in seizures caused by epilepsy. Some of these patterns do occur occasionally in epileptic seizures however, so having one of them does not necessarily mean that the seizure was non-epileptic.

    Although there is trauma involved, psychogenic non-epileptic seizures do not necessarily indicate that the person has a serious psychiatric disorder. But the problem does need to be addressed and many patients need treatment.

    Sometimes the episodes stop when the person learns that they are psychological. Some people have depression or anxiety disorders that can be helped by medication. Counseling for a limited time is often helpful. And the prognosis is good, with 60 to 70 percent of patients alleviated of seizure symptoms.

    That being said, my childhood wasn’t too rosy either. But next to you, it looks like a day at the beach.

    I’ve been in therapy for 10 years. I’m down to a low dose of Lamictal which acts as an anti-depressant and an anti-seizure med. Plus, I take Effexor which is an anti-depressant.

    My shrink told me that clinical depression goes hand-in-hand with epilepsy. And I think you could get a whole lot of good (as I have) from counseling.

    The trick is: how to find a good shrink? I go to a psychiatrist because he can regulate my meds. But before I found this terrific shrink, I had to kiss a lot of frogs.

    I asked everyone I knew: family doctor, neurologist, friends, even the pharmacist for suggestions. (And it may be useful to ask your local EFA. They have tons of resources that they work with.)

    I wrote down the names and then, believe it or not, I went around interviewing them!

    It worked and I hope something will work for you.

    Please be sure to tell me how you do.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 27, 2011 @ 10:14 PM

  11. I was thinking Sharon. (Although I’m no doc.)

    Could it be that you dug your torment in a hole so deep that it resulted in seizures? And then after the brain surgery, a thousand little bees came out of that hole, stung you 1,000 times and now you can only nurse your wounds and cry?


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 28, 2011 @ 12:39 PM

  12. I’ve just been for an Eeg today – awaiting for my next hospital appt to see a neurologist to interpret the results. I’ve had quite a few seizures in the last six months – but before that only three (first one was when I was 14) that I know for sure were seizures. The point at which I decided enough was enough and went to the doctor about the seizures, was when I had 4 seizures in one day in quick succession including in the shower. And I’m a single mum, so it’s generally the kids who see me having seizures and my daughter tells me whats happened afterwards.

    I have tonic clonic seizures – I cry out sometimes during a seizure, and in one that I remember some of it (most of the time I have no recollection instead “coming-to” on the floor sore, confused and very tired – but during this particular seizure I was aware but it was like my brain wasn’t working properly and I couldn’t make sense of anything properly) my daughter had started to cry because I’d fallen to the ground hitting the tv cabinet and my arms & legs had stiffened up and I had cried out not meaning to, so my daughter was frightened and was crying and I tried to reassure her by saying, “It’s ok, mummy’s ok” but what came out of my mouth wasn’t english or any other lanuage but something weird. Like I said – my brain had stopped working.

    I’ve had halucinations during two seizures. The first seizure I know of/remember was when I was 14 (surrounded by people at the time) and suddenly everything went black & I saw two men fighting (halucination) and woke up on the floor confused and tired and had put my hip out when I’d fallen. It was sooo embarrassing because my skirt had gone up.
    Another time when I’d had a halucination was early in the morning when laying in bed suddenly feeling very confused and hearing and believing that there were aliens above me and all these colourful flashing patterns around me and my body started shaking violently and I started crying out loud but the whole time it’s like my awareness was really weird (like everything seemed really weird if that makes any sense and I felt really confused) and after it stopped it took awhile for my ability to speak english to come back as it does after every time I have a seizure. Straight afterwards I knew it wasn’t real – there were no aliens, although I still felt very disoriented and confused – but at the time of having the seizure – I really thought they were there. After that one I told my mum & told her that I thought it was a seizure but she believed it was “demons”.

    In none of my other seizures do I ever have or had hallucinations, nor at any other time. Is that normal – to have or not have? Does it make me crazy?

    I was sexually and physically abused (including broken bones) as a child and adolescent. Fortunately I was kicked out at 17 and was homeless for quite some time before getting married to a physically and sexually abusive man at 18 – lived with him for a few years and had kids and finally left him four years ago. Had many fainting attacks growing up – have always been susceptible to fainting when under extreme stress – but it happens much less as an adult. I also have PTSD and have recovered from depression and a long 10 year battle with anorexia although I am still a little underweight. I have frequent dissociative episodes (part of PTSD) – which I can say is VERY different for me from the confusion I have come over me just before a seizure and straight after one.

    My mum’s had seizures since she was a baby, and my brother has had them since he was about 8. Theirs happen only when they are in physical pain. But mine doesn’t seem to be triggered by anything. My mum’s always called her seizures fits and won’t seek medical treatment for them. When I recently mentioned to her that the doctor thinks I have epilepsy and that she might too, she laughed. My parents view epilepsy as being something to be looked down upon.

    The doctor thinks I have epilepsy. I hope not as my dream occupation prohibits someone with epilepsy due to safety concerns. The seizures don’t worry me except that being a single mum, I’m afraid that one day I might have a seizure and knock my head just the wrong way or when cooking or something and end up seriously injured or dead and what would happen to my kids then… The doctor thinks that it may be caused by repeated head injury, as I also have a deformed jaw due to it having been broken (blunt force injury) by my ex-husband which causes constant pain, and have been knocked around the head in my life to the point of unconciousness more times than I can count.

    I just wonder what result I will get. The lady who did the eeg seemed concerned after she did it when she seemed quite happy before she did it. I’m probably reading into things, but it’s the same with my jaw – they were la-dee-da before they did the scans and afterwards they seemed quite concerned even before they told me that it had been broken. I kind of wonder if I’ll get the PNES diagnoses – wouldn’t suprise me with my history of PTSD. But in some ways I’d prefer a diagnosis of epilepsy because at least then they can’t call me “crazy”. And I’m also wondering what if they can’t find anything at all on the eeg and say that it’s all in my head WHEN I know it isn’t – my own daughter tells me afterwards what’s happened quite frightened and the seizures just happen out of the blue. If I listen to the confusion aura beforehand and sit or lay down straight away, I don’t fall – but many times I don’t have enough time or don’t recognise the confusion for what it is until it’s too late. But then if I do have epilepsy – it isn’t treatable right – will that mean I’ll be cursed with it for the rest of my life? Dream job out the window for ever.

    Does it sound to you like PNES? I know you can’t give a diagnosis – but I don’t know, it sounds like you know your stuff. I hate waiting. I hate hospitals. I hate doctors. And I hate feeling like I’m wasting their time with my stupid problems.

    Anyways – sorry for the novel – hope to get some feedback and know that I’m not alone.


    Comment by Concerned and awaiting — February 16, 2012 @ 1:32 PM

  13. No question is stupid. And if you feel like YOU’RE wasting their time, perhaps it’s time to move on. You have to have a RELATIONSHIP with your doc.

    This might help. 2012 List of GOOD Neurologists…Epileptologists…Neurosurgeons…and Pediatric Doctors


    It certainly sounds like you’re having (awful) bona fide seizures, and you’re not crazy at all.

    What should happen after EEG is analyzed
    is a meeting with the neurologist. Here are some tips:

    Three Secrets to Better Care from Your Doctor


    In the meantime, I think you should keep a daily seizure diary noting your sleep patterns, what you eat and when, your daily activities (including emotional upsets), any auras or triggers that you experience, the seizure itself (how you feel before and after, including physical injuries) and the duration of the seizures.

    This will help both the doc and you see what’s going on.
    After all, he doesn’t know you from Adam.

    The doc will recommend anti-epilepsy meds, but don’t be alarmed or discouraged, if they don’t work out the first time. There are so many drugs out there, that it’s sort of hit or miss. (I kissed a lot of frogs before I found MY magical med mix.)

    But honestly, I’ve had epilepsy since I was 14 (I’m now 58) and I’m leading the life of my dreams.

    My parents treated me like a pariah and said I would never amount to anything. Wrong!

    I’ve been a writer for 34 years. First in advertising agencies, then I went out on my own as a freelancer for 22 years and now I’m an epilepsy advocate.

    You can lead a normal life if your seizures are controlled. And they probably will be, with the right doc, meds and regimen.

    One last thing. You have a choice. You can let epilepsy rule your life and become a victim. But ultimately, you are in charge of your destiny.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 17, 2012 @ 1:06 AM

  14. Thank you for your feedback – you have good advice and I don’t feel as concerned as I did yesterday. 🙂


    Comment by Concerned and awaiting — February 17, 2012 @ 4:59 AM

  15. Just remember, we’re all here for you. If you have a question, fear or anxieties, just sing out!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 17, 2012 @ 4:19 PM

  16. My big sister claimed while I was 12 that I fell from a bed by head while 3yrs old, but they kept it a secret. As for me, I remember being sexually abused by a number of men weekly if not daily while still under 8yrs old.
    I got epilepsy at the age of 9, the doctors couldn’t detect the cause of the disease for there was no signs or damage seen on my head.
    I became one who hates & fear men but at some point I couldn’t avoid them but as far as I can remember the last men who tried do sex with me at 14 couldn’t make it cause my private part was too small to pass…one gave up, the other had to struggle much! Up to date I’ve never had sex with any other man, in fact I’ve never been engaged.
    I hate them, I fear them… at the same time, I’m not sure if my private sector performs normally!! (Hate to say this!)
    I’m now 22 living in Kenya still epileptic, please help me out EPILEPSY TALK to know what could have caused this hectic disease.


    Comment by Joy Mwangi — March 21, 2014 @ 7:51 AM

  17. Dear Joy,

    First of all, you need to see a psychiatrist to talk this through and get the right anti-anxiety meds.

    Second of all, you need to have your sexual and reproductive system examined…to see if there is any damage.

    Next, an evaluation by a neurologist.

    Personally, I think your epilepsy is the least of all problems.

    I think that you may actually be suffering from Pseudo Seizures, sometimes called Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures – (PNES)

    The Epilepsy Foundation defines psychogenic or non-epileptic seizures as seizures caused by psychological trauma or conflict that impacts the patient’s state of mind.

    They go on to say that sexual or physical abuse is the leading cause of psychogenic seizures, where the abuse occurred during childhood or more recently: life changes, like death and divorce are another possible cause of a psychogenic seizures.

    This form of seizure often resembles a complex partial or tonic-clonic (grand-mal) seizure, with generalized convulsions, stiffening, jerking, falling, shaking and crying. Less often, a psychogenic seizure resembles a complex partial seizure, with a temporary loss of attention.

    Interestingly, about 1 in 6 of these patients either already has epileptic seizures or has had them.

    And they are three times more common in females!

    So please, get yourself some help. Without talking this through with a professional and the other necessary steps, you’ll never get this monkey off your back.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 21, 2014 @ 11:03 AM

  18. I thank you Ms Phylis, I shall take the necessary action as you’ve stated. Although my attacks are not usually as tough as they were long ago. When young, the attack could take between 10-30 minutes while unconscious and couldn’t speak for some time after recover but it went onwards reducing year by year; as for it can’t take more than 2 minutes, most is by seconds and most are brought by being stressed. Can the way in which one have a seizure make you identify the type of epilepsy s/he has?


    Comment by Joy Mwangi — May 7, 2014 @ 10:57 AM

  19. I actually was at McLean for 2 months in the trauma and dissociative disorders unit. Saved my life. Although I have a long history of childhood abuse which caused their dx of complex ptsd, I have primary generalized epilepsy diagnosed through VEEG study. They still don’t know why I have it. I and other professionals wonders if years of torment during my developmental years affected my brain. Lesson- don’t be a crazy parent to your child.


    Comment by kimster33 — March 8, 2017 @ 10:21 AM

    • Oh Kim, how horrible. But how wonderful that you could end up so compassionate and not extend the chain of abuse.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 8, 2017 @ 12:39 PM

  20. Could That be a cause (or an effect) of violence that TLE Is commonly coordinated with?


    Comment by Stephen M Bottila — March 8, 2017 @ 7:23 PM

  21. About 4 months ago I started having flashbacks. 2 weeks later I started having seizures.sometimes I have them with the flashbacks and sometimes they just happen. I was raped from age 1 to 4 I was raised. With a lot of mental and physical abuse. Looking back I realize those space out moments when I was a kid and a teen. Was obviously seizures. Is it normal for abused victims to have seizures? And how long do they continue?. Do they have theall there life?


    Comment by Lacy Touchet — July 8, 2017 @ 7:29 PM

    • Lacy, I’m not sure if your spacing out was seizures or your mind just protecting you by shutting down.

      Either way, it’s a serious emotional disability and I would seek therapy.

      I’m sure a therapist could do more for you than any neurologist.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 8, 2017 @ 9:45 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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