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Stress and Epilepsy | Does Stress Cause Seizures?

Stress causes a lot of negative problems inside our body and that includes causing seizures. For example, one of the direct effects of stress is an increased heart rate or breathing. When someone is calm the body is also very calm and breathes slowly and steadily. The opposite is true for stress, you breathe faster and your heart rate goes up. A great amount of stress can cause hyperventilation which can trigger a seizure. This is especially true for people who are already susceptible or have a history of seizures.

Anger, Stress and Epilepsy are closely connected.

Seizures Caused by Emotions

Stress also has a direct impact on a specific part of the brain – the limbic system. This part of the brain is responsible for regulating emotions and when we are stressed there is an increase in emotional activity, be it due to excess worrying, being afraid, panicking, etc. And this part of the brain is one of the most common place for the seizures to start happening (seizures are the consequence of the electrical activity happening inside the brain).

The book “Epilepsy: A Comprehensive Textbook, Volume 1” also gives a study where 30% to 60% of all the seizure activities were reported to have followed after emotional stress.

Sleep Deprivation Causing Seizures

Stress will keep you up at night and not let you get quality sleep. Having stress regularly can lead to sleep deprivation and sleep deprivation can cause seizures. Although these kinds of epileptic experiences do not have to be permanent and can stop if proper sleep is restored.

Cortisol Stress and Epilepsy

Stress can actually cause hormonal changes such as the increase of cortisol, which is a hormone released by the body to counteract stress, which in turn has a negative impact on the body and can trigger epilepsy

Stress Multiplies like a Virus – Chances of Seizures Increase

Stress also takes your attention from other important things in life and makes you focus on the object about which you are stressing. So you forget others things such as taking your medicine at specified hours, which can also cause seizures. You can also forget other important dates or meetings or things to do in your life, which, in turn, creates even more problems on top of what you are having thus exponentially increasing the amount of stress and chances of having seizures.