Mum's Epilepsy Misdiagnosed as Panic Attacks for Years

Graphic designer's years-long struggle with misdiagnosed epilepsy highlights the need for thorough medical evaluation to ensure proper treatment and improve patient well-being.

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Justice Nwafor
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Mum's Epilepsy Misdiagnosed as Panic Attacks for Years

Mum's Epilepsy Misdiagnosed as Panic Attacks for Years. Photo credit: Madeleine Dippnall/SWNS

Madeleine Dippnall, a 29-year-old graphic designer and mother, spent years struggling with what doctors initially dismissed as panic attacks caused by depression and PTSD. However, after experiencing a seizure and waking up on the bathroom floor, Madeleine was finally diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy in 2024.

Prior to her diagnosis, Madeleine had been experiencing symptoms that felt like adrenaline rushes, including sweating, nausea, and uncontrollable crying. These episodes were mistakenly attributed to mental health issues, and she was prescribed various medications that only helped with about 20% of her symptoms.

It wasn't until Madeleine had a nocturnal seizure that the true cause of her condition was revealed. The similarities between panic attacks and epileptic seizures often lead to misdiagnosis, emphasizing the importance of thorough medical evaluation to ensure patients receive appropriate treatment.

Why this matters: Misdiagnosis of medical conditions can have severe consequences on a patient's quality of life and mental well-being. Madeleine's story highlights the need for increased awareness and understanding of the overlapping symptoms between mental health disorders and neurological conditions like epilepsy.

Since starting epilepsy medication, Madeleine's quality of life has improved significantly. She has been able to start a new graphic design business from her off-grid cabin, and her depression has "washed away" with the proper treatment. Although she is no longer able to drive due to her epilepsy diagnosis, Madeleine feels relief at finally knowing the cause of her symptoms and receiving the care she needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Madeleine Dippnall, 29, misdiagnosed with panic attacks, later diagnosed with epilepsy.
  • Symptoms like adrenaline rushes, sweating, nausea were mistakenly attributed to mental health.
  • Nocturnal seizure revealed true cause - similarities between panic attacks and epilepsy led to misdiagnosis.
  • Proper epilepsy medication improved Madeleine's quality of life, depression "washed away".
  • Highlights need for thorough medical evaluation to avoid misdiagnosis of overlapping mental and neurological conditions.