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Can Stress Cause Seizures?

What Increases the Chance of Having a Seizure?

A seizure happens when there is a change in our brain’s levels of excitability that causes chemical imbalances. These imbalances cause neurons to begin firing abnormally. When this happens, it becomes unmanageable and can result in a seizure. There are many things that can alter our brain’s excitability and lead to a seizure. These include:

• Sleep deprivation

• An increase in alcohol or drug consumption

• Menstrual changes

• Stress

How Does Stress Trigger Seizures?

Unfortunately, stress is an unavoidable part of our everyday lives. Stress generally comes from a particular situation or event that has happened, often unexpectedly, in our life. Multiple occurrences often combine to create a stressful situation. When a stressful situation happens, our body naturally reacts to these changes to create a physical and emotional response. These stressful situations cause us to naturally react with emotions such as frustration, panic, worry, sadness, or anger. While these are the emotional reactions, the physical reaction to stress on our body is what can trigger a seizure.

Some of the physical issues associated with stress that can lead to seizures include:

• There is an overlap in the areas of our brain that respond to stress and the areas that contribute to seizures.

• Stress naturally creates an increase in specific hormones that are related directly to our body’s nervous system that directly affect the brain in a way that can contribute to seizures.

• An ongoing period of stress, also called chronic stress, can cause mood problems such as anxiety and depression. These mood problems only contribute to worsening stress, leading to even more problems that increase the chance of a seizure.

• Stress can lead to a lack of sleep or an interrupted sleep cycle. This can trigger a stress-related seizure.

How Can I Manage My Stress Levels?

We all manage stress differently. A recent study of people suffering from stress-related seizures found that 90% of the people who took concrete steps to actively manage the stress in their lives believed it had reduced their seizure risk. Basically, if there is stress in your life, you should make a personal plan to make the situation better or to avoid it.

Contact Neurology Centers to Learn More About Stress-Induced Seizures and Epilepsy

We are committed to helping people learn about how stress can lead to seizures and epilepsy. If you or a loved one are suffering from stress-related seizures, you can contact the Neurology Center for Epilepsy and Seizures to learn more about our services.

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