What evidence is there linking stress to seizures?


Quick Answer

Stress is often identified as a seizure trigger by the individuals who have experienced the seizures, especially epileptic seizures, according to the National Institutes of Health. Most studies have focused on how stress affects the original onset of seizures. There has been inconclusive evidence, however, to show that stress is responsible for setting off new seizures after the original onset.

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Full Answer

After seizures, patients define stress as one of the conditions that precipitated the events, but such reporting is not backed by evidence that measures arousal of the autonomic nervous symptoms before the seizures, according to the NIH. To make matters more inconclusive, some individuals do experience a reduced number of seizures if they undergo therapy to reduce stress in their everyday lives.

In studies conducted in animals, the connection between stress and seizures is backed by more comprehensive evidence, explains the NIH. Psychological stress in animals raises the amount of epileptic activity in the brain and more clearly triggers seizures at any stage. This is more evident after repeated exposure to stress. No such close chemical link has been found to exist in humans, as of 2015. This does not mean that the link does not exist, but that more comprehensive research is needed on the triggering of seizures and the interventions used to prevent them in humans.

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