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Seizures vs Spells, Panic Attacks

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Wed Feb 24 23:50:14 EST 1999

Partial complex seizures (in the past sometimes called psychomotor
seizures or temporal lobe seizures--although not necessarily
originating in temporal lobe) can manifest themselves in many ways.

Emotional auras and/or emotional ictal events are common and have in
some cases been reported as the entire seizure experience.  In some
cases, seizure activity may spread to include motor areas and "muscle
jerking" (grand mal) may develop, but this is not part of "partial"
seizures of this sort.  Speech arrest is another possibility.

Some people have panic attacks with no evidence of seizure activity,
but if your panic attacks are part of the seizure activity and/or are
"separate" reactions triggered by the seizure, no need to choose
between the two diagnoses.

Deja vu "spells" are fairly common in partial continuous epilepsy (I
think due to involvement of medial-frontal hippocampal area, i.e. the

n.b.: term has nothing to do with the French "je", nor "de", i.e. is
not "I of seen", rather it is "deja" (already) "vu" (seen).  My browser
does not support accent marks, but the e has an accent aigu, hence
"day" zha view (not exactly "view", but...)

One logical question re other conditions and seizures: did they occur
before seizures developed?

Currently, are exacerbations in other conditions followed by increased
rate of seizure activity?

Eplilepsy literature includes reports of many different triggering
mechanisms, so some relationship to other conditions cannot easily be
ruled out, conceivably some aspect of other conditions alters seizure
threshold, but all quite speculative.

HOWEVER, sleep deprivation lowers seizure threshold (i.e. makes it
easier to trigger a seizure), and if the other conditions cause you to
lose sleeep...

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
New York Neuropsychology Group

In <uhDUKZ8X#GA.162 at upnetnews03> "Wayne" <wayne-pierce at email.msn.com>
>Several years ago I started having many seizures every day and night.
>of these were with the aura, brain spasm, then de je vu (images from
>scene). At other times I felt "seizury" like I was about to have a
>but didn't quite get there. I have had "seizures" or "spells" where
>I feel it coming, my brain does a spasm, but I do not have the de je
>During this type, I know it is happening but I can not speak. I have
>passed out and do not have the muscle jerking symptoms. Though some
>felt I have "panic attacks" I never have rapid heartbeat or heavy
>I have tested positive for seizures via an EEG test and am on
>    During the period when this became very severe, we also discovered
>I had a bad sinus infection and a ruptured disk in my neck from a bike
>So the symptoms have been difficult to sort out.
>    I guess my question is, what's the difference between partial
>seizures, spells, and panic attacks? And could these be related to my
>infection and neck injury.
>Thanks,   Wayne

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