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Are convulsions a sign of epilepsy or caused by stress?

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This is a question for my girlfriend. I have filled out the information as though I were her. She is a 20 year old student under large amounts of stress. She recently completed her MCATS (20 days ago) which has been one significant source of this stress. It seems that for the last two years, while we'd either be lying down or watching a movie, she'd start convulsing, her eyes would close, and thirty seconds later she'd be still, and very tired. She consulted a doctor that told her to reduce her coffee intake (she was at approximatly 2 or 3 cups a day). She has since cut down to 1 cup a day. This evening, while were were lying down, her body seized up, and she explained that her entire body was in pain. She said that she felt as though her spine should not have been connected. She then felt very tired. I was just hoping if you could quickly tell me is this is just a side effect of too much stress and coffee, or possible something else?

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replied December 4th, 2007
Anxiety and Stress Answer A3395
Convulsions are primary symptoms during epilepsy but, technically, an EEG can be performed to exclude or confirm epilepsy. If there is no presence of epilepsy your girlfriend could be experiencing some type of anxiety disorder. Some types of “convulsions” are not real medically defined convulsions. Such "false convulsions" occur during anxiety disorders like hysteria. Pain is not typical for epilepsy. Tiredness or fatigue is present in some types of epilepsy after the convulsion attack. Further, it doesn’t seems that 2-3 coffees per day can cause any convulsions. You can both consult a neurologist to exclude or confirm epilepsy as a possible diagnosis for these symptoms.

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