Link Between Seizures And TBIs

Seizures are not something that’s usually on the radar for TBI and SCI survivors, I can tell you that it was never on mine. In fact it never ever crossed my mind until I had one.

Check up in hospital for a seizue of a person with TBI

About two years into my recovery, I was released to drive- which was a huge step of independence and freedom for me. Nearly 6 months after being released to drive, I was headed to school with my two younger brothers and had a seizure at the wheel, nearly hitting a tree and ultimately going through three ditches before my seizure ended. We were puzzled. I hadn’t been “having seizures”... or had I and we didn’t know it? My brothers explained that it wasn't your typical grand mal seizure that everyone thinks of when you say “seizure.” My hands were still on the wheel, I was looking straight ahead but was non responsive to my name being called. After I regained consciousness, I was out of it and dazed and incredibly confused. I was taken to the nearest hospital where I began to undergo EEG’s. I went through your typical 20 minute test, 90 minutes test, 180 minute test and my results were normal. I went back for an overnight EEG and again results were normal. At this point Doctors were calling it a spell, a black out which is common with a history of brain bleeds. We scheduled a 72 hour impatient overnight test. This time results showed seizure activity while I was sleeping. Truth be told I probably had been having them in my sleep since my accident and never knew it. I was diagnosed with Complex Partial Seizures and Epilepsy.

We learned that it isn’t uncommon for people who have experienced head injuries, to develop some sort of seizure disorder throughout their lifetime. Although anyone can have complex partial seizures, people who have experienced head injuries, strokes, or tumors in the brain are more at risk.

brain-lobes

The definition of a Complex Partial Seizure is a type of seizure that arises in one lobe of the brain, rather than the whole brain. The seizure affects overall awareness and may cause loss of consciousness. For me, most of the activity arose in the frontal lobe and temporal lobe where my head injury had originally occurred. This is different for everyone, as no two seizures are alike.

I was fortunate as mine were simple to control with an antiepileptic drug that I take daily. The hope is that it’s something that will heal overtime. For all of those TBI survivors out there who are losing consciousness, having “spells” or blacking out- I’d suggest getting tested for seizures right out of the gate! It could save your life- It saved mine.

on the radar for TBI and SCI survivors, I can tell you that it was never on mine. In fact it never ever crossed my mind until I had one.

Woman with TBI and Seizure driving a car

About two years into my recovery, I was released to drive- which was a huge step of independence and freedom for me. Nearly 6 months after being released to drive, I was headed to school with my two younger brothers and had a seizure at the wheel, nearly hitting a tree and ultimately going through three ditches before my seizure ended. We were puzzled. I hadn’t been “having seizures”... or had I and we didn’t know it? My brothers explained that it wasn't your typical grand mal seizure that everyone thinks of when you say “seizure.” My hands were still on the wheel, I was looking straight ahead but was non responsive to my name being called. After I regained consciousness, I was out of it and dazed and incredibly confused. I was taken to the nearest hospital where I began to undergo EEG’s. I went through your typical 20 minute test, 90 minutes test, 180 minute test and my results were normal. I went back for an overnight EEG and again results were normal. At this point Doctors were calling it a spell, a black out which is common with a history of brain bleeds. We scheduled a 72 hour impatient overnight test. This time results showed seizure activity while I was sleeping. Truth be told I probably had been having them in my sleep since my accident and never knew it. I was diagnosed with Complex Partial Seizures and Epilepsy.

We learned that it isn’t uncommon for people who have experienced head injuries, to develop some sort of seizure disorder throughout their lifetime. Although anyone can have complex partial seizures, people who have experienced head injuries, strokes, or tumors in the brain are more at risk.

The definition of a Complex Partial Seizure is a type of seizure that arises in one lobe of the brain, rather than the whole brain. The seizure affects overall awareness and may cause loss of consciousness. For me, most of the activity arose in the frontal lobe and temporal lobe where my head injury had originally occurred. This is different for everyone, as no two seizures are alike.

I was fortunate as mine were simple to control with an antiepileptic drug that I take daily. The hope is that it’s something that will heal overtime. For all of those TBI survivors out there who are losing consciousness, having “spells” or blacking out- I’d suggest getting tested for seizures right out of the gate! It could save your life- It saved mine.

Topics: Traumatic Brain Injury, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord, Seizures, TBI

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