Ugetgoal blog

Distinguishing Seizures from Anxiety

I tried to differentiate partial seizures from panic/anxiety attacks and found these criteria:

1. Sudden improvement after the attack

If most symptoms go away (from peak to baseline) in seconds to a few minutes, it's likely a seizure. Anxiety attacks take 10 to 30 minutes to return to baseline.

2. Recovery phase

Right after a seizure, the patient would feel worse than before and need time to recover (up to hours). After an anxiety attack, the patient feels similar to their initial state and doesn't need recovery time.

3. Absence of emotions

If the patient doesn't have emotions like fear, panic, or anxiety during the attack, it's more likely not an anxiety attack. If they do have emotions, a diagnosis can't be made—it could be either.

4. The diagram of the attack over time

If we draw a graph of the person’s state over time, with the y-axis labeled as "Intensity of Arousal (Sympathetic System Activity)," a seizure's graph would look like a heart rate monitor: a sharp rise, a sharp drop below baseline, then a slow recovery. An anxiety attack would show a gradual rise, a prolonged peak, and a gradual fall back to baseline without going below it.

In summary, to differentiate, I would ask people to draw how they feel their attack in time.
I attached my attack's graph.