Lack of Information about Postictal Psychosis Makes Me Crazy

It is a given that the word epilepsy instantly brings to mind the thought of seizures.  There is no doubt that seizures are frightening. I witnessed thousands of seizures and learned how to remain calm as I took care of Charley but after the episodes I always had the shakes, weak knees or both. Seizures can scare the devil out of anyone because there is no way to fully prepare for them. When you think a seizure is going to occur it doesn’t and when you think a seizure is not going to happen, sure enough, it does.  Trying to live a productive life and adjust to the unknown is very difficult. However; seizures are a known aspect of epilepsy that research produces much information about.

There is another aspect of epilepsy that is far more frightening than seizures and that is postictal psychosis.  A seizure usually stops the person with epilepsy by causing them to fall and convulse.  Postictal Psychosis does the opposite by making the person with epilepsy mentally unstable, overly aggressive, hyperactive, moody and sometimes violent. That is what postictal psychosis did to Charley and he is the one case I speak of.  Since postictal psychosis was not a well known aspect of epilepsy in the 80’s and 90’s, unlike seizures, I had no clue what was causing Charley’s irrational behavior.  How was I to know clusters of seizures were causing him to be psychotic?  I don’t care who you are if the person you love has seizures and they begin to display psychotic behavior you are not going to instantly recognize the psychosis and say, “Hey, I think your epilepsy is causing you to be psychotic. We need to find a doctor to take care of this.”  How would you know? That is one of the reasons I wrote Epilepsy Unveiled. No one should have to miserably live with psychotic behavior for years and years before stumbling upon epilepsy and clusters of seizures as the cause of their misery.

When Charley had a seizure he fell down and slept.  When he suffered with postictal psychosis he constantly paced and never slept.  Charley’s behaviors followed an exact pattern months and years between psychotic episodes.  I  knew in my heart epilepsy had to be the cause of his irrational behaviors but could find no information confirming my suspicions. It is very important for everyone dealing with epilepsy to understand there are bad aspects of seizures other than convulsing; dangerous aspects, hidden aspects, violent aspects, scary aspects and life threatening aspects. Those aspects of epilepsy are created by psychosis.

In Epilepsy Unveiled I describe Charley’s patterns of behavior in order to help others with recognition of clusters of seizures which create postictal psychosis and psychotic behaviors so they can recognize what is going on in their seizure situation and get help. No one should have to live the misery we did due to lack of information.

Reading the following stories puts into perspective how important it to create awareness of epilepsy as a cause of psychosis.

Epileptic Man Found not Guilty of Murder:

http://voices.yahoo.com/epileptic-man-found-not-guilty-murder-5498855.html

Violence and Epilepsy: A Close Relation Between Violence and Postictal Psychosis:

http://www.mendeley.com/research/violence-epilepsy-close-relation-between-violence-postictal-psychosis/

A Case of Postictal Psychosis:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322913/

Postictal psychosis: presymptomatic risk factors and the need for further investigation of genetics and pharmacotherapy

http://www.annals-general-psychiatry.com/content/5/1/9

If you are suffering with or witnessing psychosis along with your epilepsy please contact me through the contact tab on this website and describe your symptoms. I want to create a page on this website describing psychotic symptoms other people who are living with epilepsy experience.  We have to create a better awareness and help people cope and immediately get medical help if their seizure situation spins out of control.  You can’t get medical help if you do not know what you are dealing with!!!

 

About Lola Jines-Burritt