Dissociative attack apparently?

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hi I dunno if anyone here can help but I'm very confused after neurologists suggested my reason for being rushed to hospital at the weekend was due to a 'dissociative attack'. I googled the symptoms & they dont match what happened to me.

Basically I do t recall much apart from feelimg very unwell, dizzy, going numb nearly all over, coiodnt even feel my throat to breathe, hardly able to move, felt like I was going unconscious. Apparently an ambulance came, I was on the floor, the ambulance girl took one look at my pupils & my pulse & immediately rushed me to hospital. They say my pupils were dilated, i went blue, couldnt breathe normally, I was vomiting, making no sense & my vitals were all over the place. They managed to stabilise me & kept me over night. The next day a neurologist came. I was stable by then & able to communicate & he basically said he thought it was some dissociative attack but did no tests. He called it a 'funny turn' but this doesn't add up to me as in my experience, ambulance crews don't take u to the hospital unless they witness something very wrong. A funny turn would've been monitored at home & from what I've read, doesn't cause u to turn blue & dilate pupils. The A&E staff suggested an allergic reaction which is very different to the neurologists opinion. The neurologists didn't see me while it was happening though. They finally turned up the next day when I was stable.

I wonder if anyone here had these symptoms with something psychological?

I just want to know what it is as still unwell & not getting any help.


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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Mandy I will defintely be getting a second opinion. Paramedics are pretty clued up on what they think is a life threatening situation and acting on it. In regard to the allergic reaction, have you eaten or taken, or introduced anything new to the house that would cause such a reaction?  I did have something similiar happen to me two years ago and was rushed to the ER but it was just put down to a panic attack as well.  For me it probably was as I was having some serious health issues at the time.  Wishing you the best, I hope you find some answers.
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    • Posted

      Hi Mandy. Were you by any chance feeling anxious about anything just before this happened? When I was young, I occasionally suffered very mild versions of your attack due to hyperventilation. That's when you breathe too fast and too deep, but usually without being aware that you're doing it. It changes your whole body chemistry and causes all kinds of symptoms. Did you by any chance notice stiffness and tingling of your hands right at the outset? That's usually one of the first symptoms.

      That being said, it's rare for hyperventilation to produce an attack as serious as yours sounds - I certainly never had anything as bad. I'm a former neuro-trained nurse, and I don't think the neurologist should have dismissed this as a dissociative attack without ordering tests. It is true that dissociative attacks - and even hyperventilation - can mimick much more serious conditions, but in my experience it's normal to eliminate any real neurological defects before handing out this diagnosis.

      I think you should go to your GP and insist on being referred to a neurologist - preferably a different one - for a second opinion, just for reassurance.

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    • Posted

      Hi thanks for tour reply, I don't recall being anxious. I'd just had dinner & all of a sudden started feeling really unwell, not with it, numb all over & collapsed.

      I've been unwell for several months with itching nerve pain & stiffness in my neck & skull, since then ive had dizziness, nausea, rapid weight loss despite eating more than normal, hearing loss, numbness, severely impaired cognition, extreme weakness & other stuff. Just seem to be getting worse.

      Neurologists do t seem to take it seriously. I had an MRI & lumbar puncture in March which were ok but they've done no more despite me getting worse. Its strange as I was sent to a dermatologist recently due to a rash & getting tons of new moles. He wanted to hear of my sickness as well & was amazed neurologists didn't do a muscle & nerve biopsy.....something like that. Its just odd that a dermatologist is more interested & seems to know more than the neuros.

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    • Posted

      Mandy, I'm reassured to hear that the MRI and lumbar puncture were OK. I didn't realise from your first posting that you'd had these done. It sounds as if you might not have too much to worry about. You say you've had hearing loss, and I'm wondering whether you've actually had your hearing tested or whether it's just an impression. If I were you, I'd make this the next priority. If you're really losing your hearing, you need to insist on being referred back to a neurologist asap.

      No one on here can diagnose you, of course, but I have to say that in the absence of any signs of neurological damage, many of the symptoms you describe could be down to stress, or a condition like ME.

      There is just one thing in the back of my mind, though it's a long shot. 30 years ago a friend became seriously ill with all kinds of neurological and rheumatic symptoms. She went through whole batteries of tests, all of which came back negative, and was even hospitalised at one point. She too ended up with a diagnosis of ME, but finally went to another GP after nearly a year of being ill. (We live in a country where it's easy to do this.) He diagnosed Lyme disease and rapidly cured it with a prolonged course of antibiotics. She's in her 70s now and in perfect health. At the time of diagnosis, she had no signs of a tick bite, nor any recollection of ever having had one, but her doctor had the sense to take in the whole picture.

      I have to say I don't think Lyme disease is a very likely diagnosis, as it's pretty rare. I also realise you're going to have a hard time getting any doctor to even consider it as a diagnosis, especially if you're in the UK, but it might just be worth a try.

      I do hope you can find a diagnosis soon. Even if turns out to be ME or a stress-related condition, it will still be reassuring to know what it is.

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    • Posted

      Hi thanks for your thoughts. Its very helpful.

      I was recently tested for Lyme's & it was OK.

      Can anxiety attacks dilate your eyes & almost paralyse you? I wondered if it could cause hearing loss too.

      I've had two hearing tests recentky, the first showed moderate hearing loss. They wanted to see me again last week as it got worse & they confirmed my hearing had dropped even further. I don't like it as normally I have excellent hearing. I did tell the neuro doc this when I was hospitalised at the weekend but he wasn't interested.

      A&E staff kept saying it seemed like an allergic reaction as my eyes were very dilated & my throat swollen but they didn't know to what as its been going on months. Starting to keep w diary of stuff I eat & use.

      Someone else suggested hormone problems so gonna see what doc says.

      I can't wait to find the cause so I can finally get treatment and get my life back.

      Anyway thanks!

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    • Posted

      Glad you got tested for Lyme, Mandy. Yes, anxiety can cause most symptoms, up to and including apparent paralysis and dilated pupils. However, the increasing hearing loss doesn't quite fit in.

      The throat swelling doesn't really fit in with stress either (or with a neurological condition, for that matter). I don't want to insult you, but the obvious question - which I suspect you've been asked before - is whether you'd taken any recreational drugs, including legal highs.

      Once again, no one here can diagnose you. I'm afraid you may face a long road to getting a diagnosis. However, I like the idea of your keeping a food and products diary. You might be able to pinpoint the cause. Even if it doesn't help identify the cause, just taking charge of our own health can sometimes produce miraculous results. The mind has more power over the body than many people realise. And that includes most doctors in my experience!

      Some people suffer from mysterious illnesses that are never diagnosed but from which they eventually make a spontaneous recovery. This is particularly true of young people. It may well be that you're one of them.

      All the same, I think you should follow up periodically on the hearing tests, as they might indicate that there's something going on. If your hearing continues to fail, you'll have something more solid with which to confront the neurologists.

      Stay positive!

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    • Posted

      Thanks again for taking the time to speak to me, I do appreciate it.

      I actually saw my gp today in a mess and he was very co cerned & is referring me back to neurology. Hopefully I'll see a more helpful Dr. Also referred to pain clinic. My muscles are getting so weak, its hard to lift my arms, often hard to speak, chew & impossible to sing anymore.

      An interesting point is when in A&E I seemed to start to stabilise, get sensation back, able to speak, less confused & more conscious after they gave me oramorph. Maybe a coincidence. But that makes me wonder if anxiety was a factor as oramorph calms u. It would've been a very severe anxiety attack tho to cause all of that.

      Hopefully I'll miraculously recover! Its all very strange. The worse it gets the more I'm concerned I have some degenerative nerve or muscle disorder but I'm trying to stay positive. Its just hard as its affecting my cognition so not my usual self.

      Have a great day & thanks again, its useful to hear others thoughts even tho no one can diagnose.

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    • Posted

      Well, anxiety attacks can be severe enough to cause most of your symptoms, so that's an interesting observation on your part. Anxiety affects cognition too. But I'm still glad to hear your doctor is taking it seriously now. Hope you get a better neuro next time!
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  • Posted

    I 100% agree with the other two ladies and would be seeking a second opinion here. I don't say this to try and worry you sweetie, but it certainly sounds like more than a "funny turn".

    Another trained nurse agreeing here that the neurologist should have done some tests on you and not just brushed this off.

    i wish you well sweetie.x


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  • Posted

    Hi just to say that I feel for you and what you're going through. Anxiety attacks can cause hearing loss temporarily.

    When the neurologist mentioned dissociative attack did he explain what this meant properly?

    One of the things that co!is under this huge umbrella of a term is NEAD (Non-epileptic attack disorder). I would recommend looking at information on that and seeing if you think it fits. Sure NEAD is still a dissociative disorder, but it may explain your symptoms to you, something may click that says "yes, that's me!". Male sure you types in NEAD UK into the search though.

    www.epilepsy.org.uk has some great information on it.

    Please though go back to your GP for another opinion from a different hospital, and different neurologist! Hope things get sorted for you. Take care sweetie!

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