Could This Be A New Concern For All

I have been considering writing about a health concern all week. This was sparked by my son’s health and something I have been questioning. I am not sure that I believe the opinions of the doctors, but it’s not something I can change regardless.  I believe our lifestyles of working too hard, sacrificing our health and sleep are playing a huge role in creating serious life-long health issues.

A couple of weeks ago I was woken at 6am by the phone.  It was my son’s workplace telling me he had been rushed by ambulance to the hospital.  The reason I received this call and not his wife is that he couldn’t think of his wife’s phone number.  He is not permitted to take his phone into his workplace, so her number was locked in his vehicle.

At the time, we were told it was nothing serious.  He had passed out at work and had a convulsion.  The hospital said he had worked too many hours without sleep and to stay away had dehydrated his body with 5 hour energy shots and coffee, lots and lots of coffee. He needed fluids and an IV was started. The only other problem they detected was an increase in blood pressure. His normal 117/72 blood pressure was temporarily 174/120. After receiving fluids his blood pressure returned to normal.

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Within a week we knew something else was going on.  He began to forget things, not just little things, but entire blocks of time.  He turned to his wife one afternoon to tell her he missed the fight he had wanted to watch the week before on television.  She was stunned, he had watched it, all of it.  He still can not remember a thing about the fight.

In addition he was experiencing what he could only describe as anxiety attacks.  He had trouble driving, working and just living.  These attacks came out of the blue, with no warning and nothing in common to make sense to him.

After an MRI and CAT scan he was diagnosed with a seizure disorder.  His brain is constantly misfiring.  He has had his driver’s license suspended until medication is found that can control the seizures.

The diagnosis came with a cause as well.  The doctor insists that the seizure disorder came from lack of sleep (30 hours straight) and not the caffeine intake that we all suspected.  He is being told that the caffeine had absolutely nothing to do with causing the seizure disorder.  I am questioning this, quietly to myself, as he has gone without proper sleep before especially during his time with the Army and we have no history of seizure disorders on either side of his family.

I am also questioning the safety of large doses of caffeine, especially in the energy drinks readily available.

source: Google images

source: Google images

See a good friend of the family, one who grew up along side my boys (I’ve known her since she was 5 years old) was diagnosed with a seizure disorder last year.  She too had no history, and no family history of seizure disorders.  She also went without adequate sleep in trying to work and raise her daughter on her own and had turned to several pots of coffee and energy drinks to keep going. Her doctors have told her she always had the seizure disorder, yet it never manifested itself until now. That her seizures were genetic and were simply dormant until now, at the age of 25, when they became active.  I tend to believe her issues may have a direct relation to the large amounts of caffeine she too consumed, and continues to consume.

We are becoming a society running on empty trying to keep going when our bodies need rest.

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I have been doing some research on these issues and can not find anything that links sleep deprivation as a cause of a seizure disorder unless there is already a seizure disorder.  Once diagnosed with a seizure disorder the lack of sleep can bring on a seizure. My son can no longer be mandated to work double shifts and is restricted to no more than an 8 hour shift to prevent him from having another seizure.

What I did find out through my research I wanted to share with all of you.  Caffeine first, directly affects the brain’s hormones and constricts the blood vessels in the brain.

The 5 hour energy shots my son ingested during the hours leading up to his collapse and seizure have been reported as contributing to at least 13 deaths and serious life threatening  events including heart attacks and convulsions etc. You can read more here.

While my son realizes that his caffeine habits had to go, of which I am very thankful for, he will now have to be on very costly medication as will our family friend.  These two individuals are 28 and 25 years old respectively, yet are now required to take medications for the rest of their lives.

I finally decided to write this today in the hopes that if my suspicions are correct and caffeine altered my son’s, and family friend’s, brain that I can save someone else from making the same mistake in believing these products are safe.  If there were just one reason to simplify your life, it may very well be that it can save your life.

Do you have anything you can share on seizures or the effects of caffeine?

74 thoughts on “Could This Be A New Concern For All

  1. I hope your son recovers soon. Those energy drinks are poison. We live in a society out of control, we live to work instead of working to live as they do in Italy and other countries. I think if we didn’t have so much stuff to pay for we wouldn’t have to work so much. And there is also pressure to work long hours and people actually feel guilty if they go home after a normal 8 hours!

    • Thank you Jayne, he’s dealing with it pretty well, right now he and both his children are sick with some stomach thing going around and pretty miserable, but should be fine soon.

      I don’t think many people remember what it was like to work to live. Many of my children’s generation have never had a picnic with friends and neighbors or belonged to any group activity. It’s sad. I belonged to a bowling team from the age of 9 up, my grandmother and I used to keep score (bowling) for blind tournaments, we did a lot of volunteer work in the community, I had a group I swam with, canoed with, hiked with etc. Life wasn’t about the money and shopping like it is today.

      I’ve been hearing a lot about a large increase in suicides in Japan due to financial stresses and overwork. Of course, like you said if they weren’t trying to buy the latest gadget or the bigger house they wouldn’t need to work so much. On the other hand, employers really don’t care about your personal life and want people who have no life outside of work.

  2. Oh my goodness, the poor guy! There are also all kinds of sweeteners and food additives in those energy drinks…hopefully by avoiding them he will feel better. I also have had some wacky hormone issues in recent years which I think is more connected to anxiety (which I’m getting help for). I have since cut way back on coffee because I think it just adds fuel to the fire. In work, I keep a thermos on my desk with hot water for herbal tea and stops me getting up to go to the coffee machine.

    • That’s a great idea to carry your own hot water, P. I too am a tea drinker who has trouble finding just hot water rather than coffee available. I’m sorry you are having hormone issues as of late, hope you get it sorted out soon. I was shocked to see all the stuff in those energy shots it really blows the mind that we have gotten to the point we don’t even stop to see what is in the products we ingest.

  3. wow, scary.. and even if you can’t find a scientific tie to the lack of sleep and 5 hour energy and his condition, it certainly makes sense that those things would be related. hopefully he can get a chance to slow things down and get the rest he needs. I bet he’ll have some withdrawal symptoms if he’s used to having all that caffeine. Best wishes to him.

    • He seems to be doing well cutting off his caffeine. I think the one thing in his favor is that he only drank coffee or the energy drinks on days he worked, on his off days he avoided them, and he is a huge water drinker which will help to flush toxins I cringe to think how bad it could have been if he didn’t have a large intake of water daily.

  4. I’m stunned and don’t know what to say. How devastating for your son. I forwarded your article to my son. He drinks no coffee but relies on soda or energy drinks to stay awake in his booth while he goes frame by frame cleaning up films. He knows he needs to do something else but for so many reasons is tied to his job. I want him to walk away. Your son has a family to care for but it looks like the decisions are being made for him. As we well know, without health, you have limited choices. My son reads everything about health and hoping he can come up with some information for you. I’ll keep your son in my prayers.

  5. Your reply to JackieP just dropped into my mailbox, I had missed that issue above. These energy drinks and alcohol are a fatal combination, Red Bull inc. They should be banned globally (most of the medical profession have advised on this), but the money they pump into politics and sports prevents anyone from taking action. I have posted on these dangers before.

    AV

  6. Your line, “We are becoming a society running on empty trying to keep going when our bodies need rest.” was very telling. One mistake, the word ‘becoming’ should be omitted. Sadly, it’s what we have been driven to.

    Hope all turns out okay.

    AV

  7. I agree with getting the second opinion. I’m not sure ‘coffee’ had this effect on him. It was just the over indulgence of caffeine on a whole. I hate those jolt kinda of drinks. I drink a lot of coffee, but I never would take say a redbull or something like that. They mix them here with alcohol too. And yes some people have died from it. It’s crazy. Hope your son does get a second opinion and I would even do research on “natural” remedies.

    • Jackie, I didn’t realize until Linda mentioned the mixing of redbulls with alcohol that this was happening. I’m sure it’s happening here too as the bar scene is most adults main entertainment, shows you how long it’s been since I was in a bar. I don’t know what the cause of the seizures was but in my gut I believe these drinks and the excessive amount of coffee played a huge role no matter what the doctor said.

  8. Lois, I am so sorry about your son. How worrying for you and his wife. I think you may be onto something with the drinks. How can they possibly be good for you. Esp. When young people mix them with alcohol like they do so often in Australia. Apparently they get some sort of kick from it. It’s a worry that his workplace couldn’t access your son’s phone numbers in an emergency. Surely they have contacts on file? Take care.

    • I believe the only phone number they have on file is his personal cell phone to call him in to work. But at least he remembered my phone number, as he says I’ve had the same number for years

  9. One other piece of advice your son might consider – before he assumes he must “be on seizure meds for the rest of his life”, he might consider a second opinion. There this nothing wrong with seeking confirmation of this from a different doctor – from a different medical practice. Again, the practice of medicine is an “art” … the human body is not a machine … so getting another opinion make sense.

  10. I spent 15 years working in the medical field – manager of a multi-specialty outpatient department. I don’t think anyone has the whole answer to your question for a number of reasons. First the human body is complicated and very “individual” – in that what affects one person’s body might not affect another’s the same way. That fact alone makes the “practice” of medicine an “art” and not a “science.” People tend to want hard and fast answers and that don’t always work with the human body. Second, Neurology is a relatively young yet very complicated science. The electrical system of the body is exceeding complicated and there are many more unknowns than in other sciences like Cardiology. As a result the number of cures for neurological conditions – for example migraines – are few – they usually treat the symptoms rather than the cause. Yes, there are some things people with migraines should avoid, but in the end there are always those whose migraine condition can’t be fixed by avoidance – hence pain meds are used to treat the symptoms that can’t be controlled.

    In the area of seizures – this is way more complicated than most neurologic conditions. You might be right that it was triggered by lack of sleep, and/or too much caffeine, BUT those triggers don’t always bring on a seizure so something in your son’s make up made that seizure possible in him. So in the end, it is more of a guess. It is an unfortunately diagnosis to have because it labels people in a way that heart disease doesn’t. Because we can’t be sure what caused the seizure or if it will be controlled with environmental changes alone, (and because our knowledge of Neurology is so young) the label is applied and the everyone thinks the worst. If it was a heart attack and his arteries were narrowed, folks would say, well fix your diet, get more exercise, improve your odds against another attack by making life style changes (which works with a high percentage of success.) With seizures, we can’t be totally sure what the cause is and why an individual experienced one.

    I think the important thing is to keep communication open with physicians and do what they say. They are your best resource. I am sure your son now knows the importance of adequate rest – and yes, avoid those darn caffeine drinks. I am sure seizures are not the only problem with those stupid drinks.

    Sorry this answer is so wordy. It isn’t a simple topic.

    • Thanks Elaine, I love hearing the point of view of someone who has worked in the medical field. I was born with Muscular Dystrophy, something that is still being studied to figure out how it works. Most of the things I know and do for my body were not told to me by a doctor but simple trial and error, when something would work for me I would tell the doctors and they would try it with other MD patients, so I do understand the limits of neurology.

      My son has definitely found that he is not invincible, something I think he believed until this happened. If any thing good can be said to come from this it’s that he is taking better care of himself now.

  11. Greetings from Norway!
    I hope your son and your friend feel better soon! I often think that it’s not one thing that causes someone to get a health issue, but lots of things, small or big, that accumulate on top of eachother over time. I have never owned a credit card and I just could never believe that someone would spend money they didn’t have that they would have to pay back with interest later. Turned out I was doing a similar thing – only with my health and energy, which I, to be frank, would say is probably even more stupid. After pushing myself way to hard for too many years and being self-hating and perfectionistic, I had a complete physical breakdown three years ago when I was in my early twenties. And I wasn’t a smoker, drinker or overweight/underweight either. I’m still ill, and I’m certainly paying back with interest. Our modern busy lives and the rat race competive mentality are completely unhealthy. I learned the hard way that my health is SO MUCH more important than achievments, status and kudos. But I’m learning so much from this experience, and I know that when/if I recover my life will be infinetly more joyful and meaningful thant it was before. It already is, in a way, I don’t miss my old life at all. I just wish I was healthy again.
    All the best to you and your loved ones!

    Maria

    • Maria, I am so sorry you have to go through this at such a young age and hope you regain your health soon. I like how you have correlated over taxing your health to using a credit card, what an interesting concept and yet it feels so simple that we all should have thought of it.

      I’m glad you have learned through your experience and are finding happiness in a new way. Please take care of yourself and get better soon.

      • Thank you so much! :) The human body has amazing abilities to heal aswell, so I’m not at all giving up hope of recovering. But I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a while (several years), it really just takes so much time to figure things out, to execute them and to heal. Yes, it’s really just incredible how often it’s the things that are most obvious that people (including myself) fail to get! Now I can’t believe how I used to act and think. I really hope someone else will learn from my (and others) mistakes. And regarding finances, I’m pretty sure working part time or at least skipping those extra hours will save anyone tons of money if it means staying healthy. I’m lucky to have free health care in my country (although it’s by no means perfect or complete – I don’t trust most doctors either), or else I realize that I would maybe have had to get into credit card debt aswell.

        • …so i just don’t want to seem smug about not having credit card debts, because I know that sometimes you don’t really have a choice.

          • Maria, I’m glad to see how positive you are staying. It can be hard with illness that last a long time to get frustrated and want to give up, I’m glad you aren’t giving up but taking the time to heal. You are fortunate to have free medical care, we don’t but at least my son has excellent medical plan from work. I didn’t read anything you wrote as being smug about credit cards. I am learning so much from this blog about how other countries view credit and wish more people here in the US had that opportunity to learn a possible alternative.

  12. Firstly, sorry to hear you are having such an anxious time with your son. I hope it won’t take too long for the medication to be sorted. I’ve virtually cut caffeine out since a lengthy palpitation episode early last year on a day when I’d drunk three cups of strong coffee and had a long and stressful day at work, on top of several weeks of low level stress and a longlasting winter cough virus. The health issue was a convergence of several factors, as it may well be with your son, but the caffeine was definitely a major contributor and I’m much better without it.

    • Thanks Sarah, I hope so too. I’m glad to hear you have cut out almost all caffeine after your scare. We don’t think much about some things, like coffee. It is simply a part of our lives, coffee to get going in the morning, coffee with friends at the cafe/coffee house…it’s become just like food, a part of socializing, and the stronger the caffeine the better, like drinks with 4 shots of espresso in them. I have a friend who drinks so much coffee that when traveling she panics if she doesn’t find coffee regularly throughout the day. She will develop headaches within an hour or so of waking if she doesn’t get her coffee, it makes me wonder why she’s never questioned the problem and cut down.

  13. Wow… that’s really scary. I’m so glad that he’s OK, and hope he doesn’t have any further seizures.

    I have very little experience with this sort of thing, but when I first brought Princess the kitty inside, I took her to the vet & they wanted to do a full round of vaccines. I agreed with a bit of hesitation. I’m not a fan of annual vaccines, especially for indoor cats who have very little risk of disease exposure. But I do think they should all get at least one round of shots to have some protection… or at least I USED to think that.

    The night after her vaccines, I still had her isolated from the other cats until we could be sure she wasn’t carrying anything contagious. Anyhow, I went downstairs to check on her and found her covered in diarrhea. I was concerned, but there were so many unknowns at that point. But, a few days later I witnessed her having a grand mal seizure – and putting 2 & 2 together, I’m pretty sure she had seized the night I found her covered in poop.

    Anyhow, the vet swore up and down that it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the vaccines, and she must have some sort of underlying disorder or it was just brought on by stress. But I’m still convinced it was the rabies vaccine. I haven’t let them vaccinate her since, and she’s had no further seizures.

    I don’t know… and that’s just the thing… there is so much we just DON’T know about how the body works. But it seems pretty likely to me that it could have been caused by some combination of the energy drinks and the sleep deprivation.

    As you probably know, or have guessed, the whole topic of overwork and the ridiculous schedules that people are expected to keep these days is a huge pet peeve for me. I once read an excellent book on the topic called “Sleep Thieves.” I highly recommend it.

    • Right now my son is having mini seizures all day long, even with no caffeine and proper sleep. It will take time to find proper medication that will control them, it will be a process. I am still convinced in my heart that even if sleep deprivation was a contributing factor that so was the amount of caffeine he ingested and believe the caffeine was directly related to the increase in his blood pressure. We are so lucky he didn’t have a heart attack which is what was suspected and why he was rushed from work by ambulance to the hospital.

      I read a lot about vaccines after my son had his reaction to his first baby shot. I was shocked by what was in those vaccines and even found information linking humans with getting treatment for rabies after being bitten by an animal as a cause of a seizure disorder, but get any doctor to admit that is next to impossible.

      I’m sorry for Princess, does she still have seizures? When I think about giving a live virus to someone (animal or human) I have to wonder what damage we do. It’s one thing to come in contact with a virus when we are in contact with someone who has it, it’s another to directly add it to the blood stream.

      I agree with you on the issue of overwork, and will have to look for Sleep Thieves. We aren’t only sacrificing our health, but also our relationships. I feel so badly for my grand children who sometimes had to go days barely seeing their father when he was required to work double shifts and needed to get right to sleep when he got home. It’s crazy and uncalled for, surely we could find a better way for everyone to live.

    • Thank you Amber, I hope by sharing my story that others will think twice about those energy drinks and pushing the body too far without sleep. If only one person can be helped it was worth baring all here.

  14. When I used to suffer from migraines I would actually have a strong coffee because of the constriction of the blood vessels of the brain. I make sure I only have two a day or I can’t sleep and get jittery. I make sure I don’t have one after 5.00pm. This must be very worrying for you, I hope your son improves, take care.

    • Thanks Jen, I never thought to drink caffeine when I had a headache, never had an actual migraine. My grandfather taught me to tie a bandana around my head as tightly as I could and lay down for a bit when I did have one. It really worked, but don’t know if it would help you if you had another migraine.

      I do worry about my son, I know quite a bit about seizures but I have to trust that things will work out for him.

  15. The weekend I met my husband he was recouperating from an episode of going to the States (we live in Canada) at a time when Canada did not have Redbull. All his friends were drinking Redbull and vodka so he had four. He then took a cab to the hospital as thought he was having a heart attack. The doctor said he could have if he had had anymore but it was due to the high caffeine content (he didn’t have any clue that there was so much caffeine in Redbull, he thought it was like any other pop). Thankfully he learned a valuable lesson without any lasting effects. It is really scary. I hope your son gets better answers – and I wouldn’t automatically trust any doctor that doesn’t listen to your concerns about caffeine. A second opinion may be in order.

    • I am so glad your husband was smart enough not to ignore the signs that his body was giving him after ingesting the Red Bull. I only knew one person who drank those regularly, luckily he shows no signs of problems. These energy drinks are marketed directly to the younger generation who as pointed out earlier feel they are invincible. It’s a scary mixture to be sure.

  16. Yikes, I hope he is doing better!! I know caffeine can have some pretty intense effects, and I agree with you 100% that we’re running ourselves into poor health by not getting enough rest (I am certainly guilty of that too). I hope they can find out what’s really wrong and correct it. I’m so sorry your family is going through this!

    I don’t mean to push an agenda but I have been researching vaccines a lot lately and I’m just wondering if he had recently received a flu shot or other shots? They have a whole slew of side effects that people don’t realize, including seizures.

    • You make a great point, I’m glad you brought it up here, we need to be very focused and selective when we allow ourselves to take flu shots and vaccines. I may have mentioned this before, but when my son was 2 months old he received his first set of vaccines, he reacted badly to it. Upon the next visit the doctor gave me a lecture telling me he could have died and that half the cost of each shot goes to a fund to pay lawsuits for those who died or were seriously injured from the vaccines. I freaked to say the least and stopped vaccinating my boys where I could.

      He hasn’t had an shots since leaving the military, but had his share of them during his tour of duty. He played guinea pig for the military with experimental drugs they forced on him as well.

      • Oh wow, glad to hear that your doctor had the sense to notice the reaction and advise you to stop! So many nowadays just tell parents that it’s just normal – so crazy.

        It may be a delayed response from something they experimented with, maybe exacerbated by the recent stress, but it doesn’t sound like it. I would keep investigating the caffeine issue. Sometimes doctors just don’t know and they go with their best guess until it’s proven wrong. Nothing wrong with doing some investigation on the side to present to them later. I am sending you good thoughts!

        • He didn’t so much advise me to stop, he screamed at me because he was afraid of a lawsuit against him. Although in the end I was able to get some waivers for school and cut down on some of the vaccines my boys had to take, just not all. Funny thing is it was the whooping cough part he reacted to and neither of my boys could risk having that as the reaction runs in families, yet they were exposed several times to a school friend who got whooping cough every winter (he had the vaccination) and my boys never caught it from him. It was my opinion from those experiences that as long as I kept as many chemicals and foreign contaminants out of their bodies they would have strong immune systems and they did. Neither son ever really got sick and if they did they shook it off quickly. We need to learn to trust our bodies not pharmaceuticals in my opinion.

          • I need to get you to talk to my boyfriend!! We’ve been arguing over vaccines. I think the best defense against disease is a strong immune system, not a chemical cocktail.

            Sorry your doctor yelled at you :( nowadays they can’t be sued; the doctors and vaccine manufacturers are legally protected. Seems shady to me!

          • Caitlin, there is a lot of information out there about the ingredients added to the vaccines and what they can do to the brain. There are plenty of stories as well of parents who had perfectly normal and healthy children until their child received a vaccination at or around age 2 and then became autistic, “Not My Son” by Rodney Peete and his wife Holly Robinson-Peete comes to mind.

            I look back at my vaccines and I have a scar on my arm where we were vaccinated for small pox. Today there is no vaccine given for this which is good, but instead they have vaccines for things like chicken pox which are now required to enter school.

            Our views of vaccines are like everything else in life, formed from our experiences. I read somewhere that in Europe vaccines aren’t given to children as young as here in the US and that they have lower incidents of reactions than we do. Since your boy friend is from Ireland it may be his experience that vaccines have been safe. One option should the two of you have children is to hold off until the children are older to lessen the possible side effects.

          • Thank you for the suggestion. I’ll throw that out there! I still want 0 vaccinations but he’s not convinced yet. There are philosophical exemptions in Ohio so you can opt out of vaccinations for school, etc. (If they go to school… we’re also arguing about me wanting to home school!)

          • Caitlin, I don’t know what to say. It sounds like you and your boyfriend still have a lot to work out. I didn’t know Ohio had philosophical exemptions for school. Even homeschooling here in PA it was tricky to find ways to not vaccinate as there are very few exemptions allowed, religion is one, but they really put you through the wringer by trying to prove you simply claimed a religious objection when you don’t follow the particular religion.

  17. I hope your son is improving. Its scary that modern lifestyles are doing permanent damage.
    My leg was amputated as a result of bone cancer. My surgeon and the therapy Doctor gave me the following advice. If I wanted the best possible recovery and to control the pain.1. no coffee or tea 2. no carbonated
    sodas or water.According to them this would lessen and possibly help control muscle seizures. This along
    with exercises and I haven’t had any seizures in the last 7 years. They said the central nervous system
    becomes overworked with the intake of caffeine and carbonation.

    • I am sorry for what you have gone through. I would have no problem giving up tea (unless that included herbal as well) or carbonated drinks, they really aren’t a part of my diet now. I’m glad eliminating these things has helped you to be seizure free for so long, keep it up. I have Muscular Dystrophy which is a neuro-muscular disorder so I try to limit the amount of things which affect the nervous system as well, but no one ever told me these drinks would affect my nervous system, I just figured it out over time. The same goes for sleep, if I have inadequate sleep I fall much easier and take to dropping things and stuttering. It’s as if the words forming in my brain can’t seem to make it out my mouth properly. My family always knows when I haven’t slept well the night before.

  18. Yikes! I do know that energy drinks lower blood sugar substantially, which can cause problems (I drink them when I’ve eaten something I shouldn’t, and my blood sugar is too high–not a good habit, I know!). I met a lady who was on insulin, and she wasn’t allowed to drink them. Scary stuff, to be sure.

  19. Wow, what a difficult situation you’ve all been through. I really hope he is starting to get adequate rest. How hard this must be on the whole family! I feel for you all. Diet is so very important and my hope would be that by cleaning up his diet, as much as humanly possible, he would reap some great rewards, possibly even coming off that medication later. Many people have found they no longer have to take medications that they were told they need for life once they got their body fed properly, which I believe to be a vegan diet. I hope that idea is helpful to him and that he is feeling better soon.

    • Thanks Tessa, his diet while different from mine (I’m a vegetarian with some eggs, honey and butter) is full of whole foods. He is a body builder who eats a lot of meat, eggs and drinks his share of milk, but he buys it all organic. I would love to see him be able to stabilize and no longer need medication, but I fear that may be down the road quite a ways as they are just getting him started on medications and tell him it could take a while to find what works.

  20. First of all, I hope your son can return to full health soon.

    Second, all those caffeine/energy drinks are worrisome. My son, fortunately, doesn’t drink them, but several of his friends do. When you’re young, you feel immortal. Even if those drinks don’t directly cause seizure disorders, I think they interrupt a body’s normal response. You get tired, and you’re supposed to go to sleep. We’ve all heard that sleep is the body’s healing time. To deprive oneself of this vital component in good health can only lead to poor outcomes.

    I’ve been cutting back on my own caffeine over the last year, to improve my own sleep quality. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. For instance, I can’t have any caffeine after 12 noon, or else I don’t sleep well. I can only imagine how awful I’d feel if I drank those caffeine/energy drinks and shots.

    Best wishes for your son, Lois.

    • Thank you Lili, I usually drink herbal teas but will occasionally drink green tea, I haven’t had any adverse reactions when I do, but let me get near sugar and it’s a whole different story. I’m glad your son doesn’t use the energy drinks/shots and hope his friends stop soon as well. I couldn’t agree more with you about the need for sleep, but what do you do when your job requires long hours but learn to adjust. My hope would be that my son could find other employment, but I don’t think that will happen as he won’t consider giving up a job which is guaranteed not to lay him off. The one field which doesn’t seem to be constricting is the prison system. As it stands he only has 22 more years until he can retire with a full pension (which begins at 50) and benefits.

      Glad you are cutting back on caffeine as well, you can set a good example to others.

  21. Those energy shots have not just caffeine, but a whole lot of other herbs and vitamins. And sweeteners and chemicals. Any of them on their own might be stimulating yet harmless for a short while in a healthy person, but it is scary to mix them together. Nobody could drink that much caffeine if it were just black coffee. But when it is concentrated like those shots, it goes down fast and hits the body hard.
    This will damage the adrenals, too.
    I hope your son gets on a stabilizing med very soon. It is hard to face such uncertainty.
    Sending wishes for good health to you all.

    • Thank you, I hope things work out quickly as he seems to be under a lot of stress with a young family who counts on him solely.

      I read a list of all the chemicals in the energy shots and was shocked by what I found. I can imagine that not only will the adrenals be affected but also the heart, circulatory system as a whole and many other bodily functions. We need sleep to reset our bodies and to have them work properly, anything that disrupts our need for sleep is a disaster waiting to happen.

  22. I’ve read about the deaths associated with the caffiene drinks before – and I remember friends taking those caffiene pills in university when they were studying – they always seemed so hard on their bodies. I never tried them myself. I hope your son finds a solution for his seizures.

    • Thanks Heidi, I hear all the time about the mayor of New York who is trying to limit the size of soda the residents can buy, making formula for babies harder to get to force breastfeeding, but I never hear anyone going after these energy drinks. The energy drinks have so many other chemicals in them besides just caffeine we really have no idea what they are doing to the body. Glad you never tried the caffeine pills, I tried one when a trucker found me sleeping on the side of the road too tired to drive any further. I was so tired, but was up for many hours, into the next day after taking one then slept for close to 12 hours afterwards.

  23. The little Googling I did said that lack of sleep was the 2nd most common trigger for seizures. Stress was the most common trigger. I also read that caffeine was a trigger for seizures, but usually because it can interrupt sleep. Unfortunately, it sounds like that your son was having difficulty with all three. The only personal experience that I have with seizures comes from a young woman that I sometimes mentor. She has absence seizures, that you would never notice unless you knew what you were looking for. She is still, and has a faraway look, like she’s thinking about something. They only last a few seconds. She was diagnosed because she has some other neurological problems and these were discovered in the work up. I do know a couple of times, when she didn’t get enough sleep, she had major seizures, the kind we all think about.

    I wish the best for your son and hope this situation will work itself out. In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers are with you, your son and his family.

    • I am very familiar with the absence seizures having worked with medically fragile individuals. It’s important even with medication to document how long the individuals have their seizure as well. the majority of my reading has turned up trauma to the head, all the way to developing seizures due to rabies vaccinations in humans. In every case, by developing a seizure disorder in adulthood means we have altered the workings of the brain and that seems to be something that is gaining in numbers of young people today. Most of what I read stated lack of sleep was the number 1 cause of triggering a seizure in someone who already has a seizure disorder, but it’s something to look further into.

      Thank you for your thoughts for my son and his family. I am hoping they find a medication soon for him.

  24. Hey there, I’m not a doctor but I am a medical librarian — a really quick search on PubMed.gov (medical literature database) pulls up a number of citations about sleep and seizures — but I didn’t do a search about caffeine and seizure disorders or about energy drinks and seizures so there may be much more material on those subjects
    . But I thought it might be a good resource for you to try. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=sleep+deprivation+AND+seizures+AND+eng%5Bla%5D

    I wish him all the best…I’m so sorry you’re going through this now.

    • Thanks Joanna, I read through several of the articles mentioned and only found one that seems to relate, tying a link to possible cause of seizures due to lack of sleep. Most articles there and elsewhere on the web talk about someone with a pre-existing seizure disorder and how lack of sleep will affect them.

      I have my fingers crossed that they will find a medication that will control his seizures soon.

  25. I have never had seizures but I can give my experience of high caffeine intake: I have what appears unlimited energy, I bounce around like a demented butterfly. When I come off caffeine I get hammered by headache as a withdrawal symptom.

    I am shocked that your son and the employer of your son has allowed him to get to this stage. There may be an underlying cause that surfaced as a result of the stress the body was put under. The human body is like a bank account, you can only get so overdrawn that you get hammered for it. If this is a UK employer then they would be risking an injury claim for allowing an employee to become sick through overwork.

    I wish your son a speedy recovery and not to throw his health away. Cut the caffeine and give the body the sleep it needs. All rules of sustainability apply to the human body as well as to the environment.

    • So well put Alex. My son works in the US as a corrections officer, he is also on the CERT team, which responds when their is a riot or problem that needs specially trained people to go in and restore control. When there is a riot he could be gone for days until the prison can be handed back over to the normal staff of that particular prison and sleep is something they don’t get enough of. It is common practice to mandate the officers in their normal work week at least once a week, but it can be more often if people are on vacation and others call in sick.

      My son while accepting the word of his doctor that caffeine had nothing to do with his seizure had eliminated all but an occasional coffee and no more energy drinks of which I am very thankful as I don’t trust them. I believe the blood pressure he had was a direct result of the caffeine.

      I don’t drink coffee, so I have no experience to compare, but I am like you when I have sugar. It throws my body off all normal rhythms, I can’t sleep then crash a day later and have the headaches to go with it. I feel drugged and hungover the following day.

  26. Oh my goodness! I’m sorry this happened and pray for your son. We live in such a scary world. Rush, rush, rush, produce, consume, etc. I feel sorry for our young people trying to provide for families and bombarded with pressure. We have to get off the consumerism kick and slow down the rat race.
    Betty

    • Thank you Betty, he’s handling it pretty well but knows his life has been changed in so many ways. I also feel so badly for the younger generation who is trying to shuffle jobs to make ends meet, I hope more find ways to simplify their lives so they won’t be putting their health at risk.

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