Psychogenic Non-epileptic Seizures (PNES)-
Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures are not due to epilepsy but may look very similar to an epilepsy seizure
Causes of Epilepsy :
The cause of epilepsy is unknown in 50% of cases. We know that genetics (family history) play an important role. Seizures or epilepsy can also be caused by anything that causes damage to the brain, including:
- head injury or trauma
- stroke or brain haemorrhage
- brain infection or inflammation, such as in meningitis, encephalitis or a brain abscess
- brain malformations or tumours
- brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease
- chronic alcohol or drug use
- genetic factors
- high or low blood sugar and other biochemical imbalances.
Ayurvedic View and Treatment options :
In Ayurveda Epilepsy is mentioned as Apasmara (Apa = loss, smara = memory, intelligence and/or consciousness) and epileptic attacks are known as Akashpaka. In Ayurveda, the convulsions are caused due to an imbalance of the Vata dosha. The loss of consciousness in terms of doshic influence can be attributed to Pitta dosha. When one loses consciousness soon after seeing the colors red, blue and black and also recovers quickly, this is considered as a sign of Vata disturbance. Similarly, Pitta disturbances happen due to seeing the colors light or dark red or yellow and recovering with heavy sweating. Convulsions in Apasmara are followed by losing consciousness and frothing at the mouth. Due to its cardinal sign of loss of consciousness or memory, epilepsy or epileptic attacks are commonly known as the ‘falling disease’ or ‘fits.’ It is a serious disorder of the central nervous system that affects both children and adults alike.
Depending on the dominance of the three doshas and their combined effect, it is classified into four types :
- Vataj seizures (caused mainly by imbalanced vata) last for a shorter time (relatively), increase respiratory rate, cause secretion of foam from the mouth and abnormal body movements during fits.
- Pittaj seizures (caused mainly by imbalanced pitta) cause a yellowish or reddish tint on the body, lots of sweating, yellowish foam from the mouth. Patients experience hotness in the body and severe thirst after the seizure.
- Kaphaj seizurse (caused mainly by imbalanced kapha) last for a longer time (relatively), produce whitish foam from the mouth, and the patient experiences heaviness in the body after the seizure.
- Sannipatik seizures are caused by corruption of all three doshas, and therefore have mixed characteristics
- A fifth type, called Yoshapasmara, which is more prevalent among women. Yoshapasmara is another type of epileptic seizure elaborated in our texts and finds relevance in the condition of hysteria. Many a times, it is ignored as a tendency or hereditary factor. This has grave impact on the growth and well-being of the female suffering and the people associated with her. But on a positive note, it is treatable and can bring about a great change in the person afflicted by this.
Causes according to Ayurveda :
- long-term consumption of unwholesome food and habits by a person with delusional mind
- long term grief, passion and anger
- subconscious fear and hatred
- unethical regimens, celebrations, and recreations
- mind deliberation
- imbalanced, out of balance doshas
Pathogenesis according to Ayurveda :
Due to above causes, doshas located in the vessels (dhamani/ artries) afflict the heart and causes disturbance in the functions. The person, thus affected, is afflicted with stupor and malfunctions of mental activities.
Symptoms according to Ayurveda :
- He visualizes non-existent forms, falls down and gets tremors.
- His eyes and eyebrows become distorted
- Saliva comes out from his mouth
- His hands and legs become convulsed
- When the fits are over, he regains consciousness as if he were getting up from sleep
Ayurvedic Treatment of Epilepsy/ Apasmara :
An Ayurvedic doctor's consultation is a must for diagnosing and treating epilepsy effectively. Medication, counseling and lifestyle go hand in hand to have a complete therapeutic experience. The good news is that there is a cure for epilepsy in Ayurveda – at least, it be managed to a large extent of being able to lead a completely normal life.
- Counselling: Assurance and guidance helps overcome the depression and anxiety and may also enhance the effects of the medications.
- Panchakarma: Strong detoxification procedures are highly recommended in such cases. The type of purification method chosen to restore the brain’s activity to normal would depend on the specific dosha that is vitiated.
- Vata dosha: In this case, the body is cleansed using enema (basti) to balance Vata dosha. This dosha gets aggravated due to stress, lack of sleep and acute mental exertion. Constipation and problems of the GI tract can also bring about this type of epilepsy. Vata is calmed with the help of medicated oil massage (abhyanga) as well as by pouring a stream of oil on the head (shirodhara) which can calm the mind. Herbs like shankhapushpi, ashwagandha and brahmi are used to normalize brain activity.
- Pitta dosha: The aggravation of this dosha is corrected by purgation (virechana). This dosha is usually disturbed due to high heat. The possible causes of epilepsy due to Pitta dosha could be diseases like encephalitis and inflammation of the head.
- Kapha dosha: Toxins are removed from the system by inducing vomiting (vamana). This is often due to a blockage of the nervous system. One of the primary signs of Kaphic epilepsy can be the excessive secretion of saliva. It could be set off by a sedentary or inactive lifestyle. Tulsi and calamus root are commonly used to treat Kapha type epilepsy.
- Rejuvenation and revitalization through Rasayana therapy reduces the recurrence of attacks and promotes complete mind and body coordination for a fruitful life.
The Ayurvedic herbs and herbal formulations used to treat epilepsy are :
- Jatamansi (Nardostachys Jatamansi)
- Brahmi (Bacopa Monniera)
- Shankhapushpi (Evolvulus Alsinoides)
- Malkagni (Celastrus Paniculatus)
- Vacha (Acorus Calamus)
- Tagara (Valeriana jatamansi)
- Yastimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
- Mahapanchagavya Ghrita
- Panchayagavya Ghrita
- Brahmi Ghrita
- Kalyanaka Ghrita
- Kooshmandaka Ghrita
- Samritisagar Rasa
Ayurvedic treatment is always personalised, we advise you to make an appointment with our experienced Ayurvedic doctors at Life Line Ayurvedic Herbal Clinic, Adelaide to find a Natural treatment for your symptoms of epilepsy.