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Changes in consciousness


#1

Is this a common issue with my fellow migraineurs? I’ve seen passing mentions of the phenomenon in some literature, but it doesn’t draw as much attention as some other symptoms. I find that of all my symptoms the changes of consciousness are the most frightening and debilitating. I sometimes feel as though I’m high on drugs, but unlike being on a drug there’s no obvious precipitating factor, and there’s also no obvious start and end to the high, so to speak.

I’m interested in hearing the experiences of others.

Adam


#2

Hi Adam,
Like you I also have altered consciousness during a migraine. I wondered if it was due to the loss of blood flow to the brain, similarly to someone who is being strangled.
My altered state consciousness is also one of my most upsetting symptoms.
It can happen for up to a ½ an hour with my aphasia and leaves me exhausted. I can’t really communicate during this stage of the migriane…
Sometimes during this period I have what I can only describe as a feeling of “mental Brain orgasm” or feeling so elated like my whole mind and body is bathed in a relaxing gentle euphoria; yes you could call it a high.
Is this what you have?

jen


#3

In his book “Migraine” Oliver Sacks describes the vast range of aura symptoms, inlcuding changes in conciousness and mood, hallucinations, and abdominal disturbances just for starters. He also provides lots of case studies. As far as I can tell just about anything is possible in the migraine brain.

Sacks himself is a migraineur (as was his mother) and suffers classic migraine with aura (scintillating scotoma). There are numerous artistic representations of same in his book which are spot on. He also has a website.

Victoria


#4

Hi Victoria,
would you mind , displaying his web site for Us?
thank;s so much .
jen, :slight_smile:


#5

Hi Jenny,

See below for Sacks’ website. It doesn’t actually have a lot of info about migraines in it (sorry for the bum steer!) but I’ve included a link to an article as well.

Sacks is a neurologist and psychiatrist and also suffers from migraine (classic with aura) so can see the condition from both sides. I haven’t seen anything written by him on MAV specifically, however, in his book “Migraine” he describes vertigo as one of the manifestations of aura. I bought his book years ago, pre MAV, when I just had classsical migraines (with scintillating scotoma and without headache). The book is in the usual Sacks style, ie readable and interesting. The final chapters are on treatments but as I say, for “regular” migraines rather than MAV. If not available in book shops I understand it can be ordered via Amazon below or similar.

(NB from admin: this image links to a product this member has found helpful and at the same time helps fund the site: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. More recommended products here. Thanks for your support!)

oliversacks.com/about.htm

migraine.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/patterns/

Cheers
Victoria


#6

Awsome!
Thank’s so much Victoria.

jen
xx


#7

— Begin quote from “hektisk”

Is this a common issue with my fellow migraineurs? I’ve seen passing mentions of the phenomenon in some literature, but it doesn’t draw as much attention as some other symptoms. I find that of all my symptoms the changes of consciousness are the most frightening and debilitating. I sometimes feel as though I’m high on drugs, but unlike being on a drug there’s no obvious precipitating factor, and there’s also no obvious start and end to the high, so to speak.

I’m interested in hearing the experiences of others.

Adam

— End quote

In the medical world, they often refer to this as cognitive dysfunction, and it is a common symptom of migraines in general. It can be described in many different ways, stoned without doing any drugs, drunk without drinking, a difficult time thinking in general, and the most common, brainfog. I am all too familar with this symptom and it is one of my more dibilitating symptoms. I work research and development and it gets a little hard to add one + one when you can’t remember why you are adding one + one.

Brian


#8

Hi Brian,

Just saw this thread. This is also my most debilitating symptom. I often find it hard to describe to people - frequently resort to ‘stoned without drugs minus the happy feelings.’ Although I don’t think that is quite accurate.

I have different versions of it - one of them is pea soup brain fog. At these times it literally feels like something has gathered in my brain - like I can locate it at the centre of my forehead - glue or fog or treacle and my thoughts have to battle their way through it. It impacts on memory, quite literally from moment to moment - not just distant memory but what I was about to say/do, the next bit of a sentence. It makes any kind of analytical thinking very hard. Straightforward questions are ok like - have you read this book? However a question like - ‘what do you think of this book?’ would leave me struggling to pull my thoughts together. In fact it impacts on my memory so hugely that when I am like that I can feel lost and a bit personality less. It’s made me realise how much of who we are is dependent upon our memories, what has happened to us, the opinions we have formed etc… When I am like this I feel more thing than person.

The other version is even harder to describe. A neurologist once said to me that 'migraine slows the brain, ’ and that would be one description - a slowing of thought. Or rather than being stoned that I have taken a slightly more hallucinogenic drug which brings on a dreamy, surreal, floaty brained quality. At these times I feel like I can’t catch my thoughts, like they are floating away from me. My brain feels light in a bad way. This is often accompanied by extreme light sensitivity and a sensation visually that things are simultanously too near and too far away. So the whole experience is, I am guessing, akin to an acid trip. I have never taken acid so I don’t know for sure.

I am a screenwriter, so this has been a major battle with regard to work. Although I had the brain fog for the first two years of illness, I have had long periods of remission from it, which has allowed me to work again, although I have the brain fog currently.

H


#9

Hi Hanah,

I think you’ve captured the brain fogginess, spot on. I get it exactly as you describe along with a kind of blankness - I’ll just be lost for not only words, but thought. As for memory, it’s absolutely hopeless. I’ll find people politely listening to the same story or bit of information I told them say, yesterday or an hour ago! My work also involves writing, thought and analysis, the quality of which is not so great lately :frowning:

Good luck as well with your medi-go-round nightmare, sounds like you’re have a very very rough time.

Victoria


#10

Thanks Victoria,
Good read,

Hey Brian …my altered conscioussness can be bizzare, with the feeling of comlete warmth all over my body and my mind, This experiance is another thing I just can’t explain, I’d imagine very similar to the warmth I’ve heard of
during a herion shot.
I’ve NEVER done heroin! YUCK!
It’s an over all body and mind rush, plus visauls like I’m in a movie.
I wonder if it’s just another Alice in wonderland syndrome symptom.
then comes the head nodding…

it’s orgasmic…but not sexaul… :shock:

wow that didnt make sense did it.

jenxx


#11

Hi victoria,

Yes, blankness, absolutely, that’s a word I forgot (a regular occurrence currently :frowning: ) I also feel blank. Not emotionless, (I manage to do a very good line in feeling upset and frustrated about feeling blank) but mentally blank.

H


#12

Brain fog, by and far, is my most debilitating symptom. My neuro insisted that the brain fog and migraine were not related. He wanted me to see a neuropsychologist for tests (which would cost up to $3,000 and not be covered by insurance). Based on comments I read on this forum I instead obtained a second opinion from Dr. Hain who said that brain fog can be a symptom of migraine. I’m by no means symptom free but at least now feel like I’m heading in the right direction. Good luck to all.


#13

Hi heritage,

When I saw ENT’s early on who didn’t have a clue what was going on, they thought the brain fog was anxiety. I was subsequently seen in a neurotology department - they has seen and heard all about the brainfog from many patients. It is common to both vestibular migraine and vestibular neuritis. They said they often had a problem getting patients to give a proper symptom history as they were so foggy. And then there was the neurologist who mentioned the cognitive slowing with migraine.

I have no idea if it’s as common to people with regular migraine - aura with pain no dizziness etc… I know a few people with this type of migraine and have never come across one who gets it. Maybe that’s why some neuros are unfamiliar with it. It does seem to be prevalent amongst people who are dizzy.

H


#14

My definition of brainfog:

1 + 1 = ???

Oh, I know that one…

Give me a second…

2!!!

Now, why was I adding those numbers anyway?
Brian