April 30, 2008

Paranoia as a feature of E.?


According to Orrin Devinsky and B. Vasquez in Behavioral Changes Associated with Epilepsy
Epilepsy can be accompanied by changes in cognition, personality, affect, and other elements of behavior. There is no single epileptic constitution or personality complex. A unifying theme to the behavior in epilepsy is diversity. As one looks at the behavioral traits reported in epilepsy, a specific and consistent pattern is lacking. Rather, extremes of behavior are accentuated: sometimes in one direction, often in both directions. Changes in emotional state are prominent among behavioral features in epilepsy. Some authors describe a prominent deepening or increase in emotionality, whereas others identify a global decrease in emotional life and content. Emotional lability is also reported. Sexuality and libido are typically decreased, but fetishism, transvestism, exhibitionism, and hypersexual episodes also occur. Concerns over morality may be lacking or exaggerated. Patients may be irritable and aggressive or timid and apathetic. The impressive list of people with epilepsy in politics, religion, arts, and sciences suggests a positive expression of this behavioral spectrum. Psychosis, depression, paranoia, and personality disorders may represent a negative pole of epilepsy-related behavioral changes. The most important aspect of behavioral changes in epilepsy for physicians is to recognize and treat dysfunctional behavior. Depression is a common problem that is often unrecognized and untreated. Other treatable problems include impotence, anxiety, panic attacks, and psychosis. Identifying risk factors will, it is hoped, assist in developing methods to prevent these disorders,

The feelings one may develop toward others can be devastating to personal and social relationships. When one mistrusts and suspects others constantly, one loosens his or her grip on what is real, what is actually going on around him/her. It can be difficult to live this way, for everyone, and there is an urge to isolate one's self away from others, something that is harmful to the sufferer.

Paranoia itself, is often described as a
disturbed thought process characterized by excessive anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory         beliefs concerning perceived threat. In the original Greek, παράνοια (paranoia) simply means madness (para = outside; nous = mind) and, historically, this characterization was use to describe any delusional state.

Living in the grip of paranoia is difficult. It makes trust impossible. It can also make communication with others difficult because the individual may feel he/she needs to edit everything he/she has to say. 

In my own case, I have found relief from the paranoia to which I am prone through my medications. They act as a stabilizing element, and for me, this has meant a great and positive change in my life's experience.

Now, the biggest anxiety I suffer is directed toward my doctors, whenever they want to discuss changing my medications! 

Finding stability is difficult. Being free from seizures is only half the battle for me. I need also to be freed from the paranoia that seems to accompany my condition. I am TLE, left-side, and being rid of the instability makes me able to be consistent in my personality, thinking, and interactions. This is a miracle!!!

To be able to remain in my mind instead of outside of my mind is wonderful to me...


1 comment:

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