Epilepsy—When the Brain Goes Crazy but the Person with the Brain Isn’t
What is epilepsy? What say you, Erasmus?
In his 1818 edition of “Laws of Animal Causation,” Dr. Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of the more famous Charles Darwin, wrote, “The spirit of animation is the immediate cause of the contraction of animal fibres…resides in the brain and nerves, and is liable to general or partial diminution or accumulation.”
Well said, Erasmus.
But then he states, in “…the various kinds of epilepsy…a pain or disagreeable sensation is produced, frequently by worms, or the acidity in the bowels or by a diseased nerve in the side, or head, or by the pain of a diseased liver.”
Worms and liver pain notwithstanding (remember, this was state-of-the -art medicine in 1818), at least he nailed it with citing a “diseased nerve…in the head.”
Fast-forward from 1818 to 2017, how is epilepsy ...
“GAD” means Generalized Anxiety Disorder. GAD is defined as an exaggerated state of persistent worrying that is uncontrollable and impairing and which occurs more than 50% of the time over at least 6 months. It is often accompanied by distress, apprehension, mood irritability and even physical manifestations, such as fatigue and muscular tension.1
An excellent definition is all well and good, but what exactly is it? Why does it strike only certain people? Why is it uncontrollable?
Where do you live?
In the USA, it strikes between 1 in 10-20 people, but in Europe it is less, between 1 in 30-50.2 It is twice as common in women as men and is very common in the elderly. It is at its worst when combined with major depression, which significantly increases the chances of it continuing well into the future. It is possibly inheritable from a parent with depression, passing on the family genes that affect the neurotransmitters in the brain, such as norepinephrine, seroton ...