11 Conditions Misdiagnosed As Epilepsy That May Surprise You

Mental Health — Epilepsy can be misdiagnosed as schizophrenia.  Some patients suffer hallucinations and other similar symptoms, or even severe psychotic symptoms, making a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia possible.Mood changes and behavioral symptoms also make a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder possible.

Nonepileptic Seizure Disorder (NESD) — Nonepileptic events look like seizures, but actually are not. Conditions that may cause nonepileptic events include narcolepsy (a sleep disorder which causes  reoccurring need of sleep during the day), Tourette’s syndrome (a neurological condition characterized by vocal and body tics), abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and other medical conditions with symptoms that resemble seizures

Eclampsia — Eclampsia is a dangerous condition suffered by pregnant women. The symptoms include seizures and a sudden rise in blood pressure. A pregnant woman who has an unexpected seizure should be taken to the hospital immediately.

Meningitis — Meningitis is an infection that causes swelling of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord, most often caused by a virus or bacteria.Viral infections usually clear up without treatment, but bacterial infections are extremely dangerous and can lead to brain damage and even death.

Encephalitis — Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain and is usually caused by a viral infection. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, confusion, and stiff neck.

Migraine — Migraine is a type of headache thought to be caused, in part, by a narrowing of blood vessels in the head and neck, which reduces the flow of blood to the brain.

Sleep Disorders — According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 75% of the adult population in the United States suffers from some type of sleep disorder. These include: sleep apnea…insomnia…restless legs syndrome…narcolepsy… sleepwalking…

Cardiac Disorders — EEGs alone may not clearly distinguish epilepsy from cardiac disorders. Numerous studies point to a connection between SUDEP, Unexplained Death in Epilepsy and cardiac problems.

Failed Drug Therapy — If trials of different anti-seizure medications fail, it could be because the cause of the seizures is not epilepsy.

Simple Mistakes — And then, of course, there is the element of human error.  Changes in metabolism – such as low blood sugar — from health conditions like kidney and liver problems can present as a seizure.