Former care worker, 20, who suffers up to 100 seizures a DAY is regularly rescued by her pet labrador who licks and paws at her until she regains consciousness despite not being a trained service dog
- Lucy Brown’s life turned upside down due to her non-epileptic attack disorder
- Causes blackouts and fits up to 100 times a day, often resulting in her collapsing
- Labrador Freddie, two, licks and paws at her until she regains consciousness
A former care worker who suffers up to 100 seizures a day is regularly rescued by her pet dog who licks her until she regains consciousness.
Lucy Brown, 20, gave up her job and lost her freedom after being diagnosed with non-epileptic attack disorder (NEAD) earlier this year.
The condition causes her brain to randomly blackout and lose control of her limbs, often resulting in her collapsing on the floor.
She was forced to leave the house she shared with her boyfriend of five years and move back in with her parents so they can care for her when she fits.
But when they are at work, her two-year-old labrador Freddie acts as her safety net – despite not being a trained seizure dog. He licks and paws at her until she comes back around.
Lucy Brown, 20, suffers up to 100 seizures a day is regularly rescued by her pet dog Freddie
The former care worker blackouts and loses control of her limbs, often resulting in her collapsing on the floor. Pictured during one of her many stints in hospital
Her two-year-old labrador Freddie (pictured as a puppy) acts as her safety net, licking and pawing at her until she comes back around
Ms Brown, from Warrington, Cheshire, said: ‘I can’t remember the first time he helped.
‘But, from what I’ve been told, he just ran straight over to me, starting licking my face and cuddled his body into me.
‘He’s the main reason I moved back home. He will help me when I’m on my own. He’s my dog – I got him as a puppy. He’s always by my side and will just lie with me.
‘He does what seizure dogs do – he licks me and paws me to bring me round but has never had any training.’
Many epilepsy patients have ‘seizure dogs’ , which have been trained to respond to a seizure.
Ms Brown first started suffering mild seizures in her mid-teens which disappeared as she got older.
Ms Brown gave up her job and lost her freedom after being struck down by non-epileptic attack disorder (NEAD)
The attacks look like epileptic seizures but are not caused by electrical activity in the brain
Ms Brown said the condition has plunged her into depression and forced her to drift from many of her closest friends – but Freddie is her rock
WHAT IS NON-EPILEPTIC ATTACK DISORDER?
It is currently believed that non epileptic attack disorder (NEAD) is the brain’s response to overwhelming stress but there may be other causes
NEAD can be divided into two types: organic non-epileptic seizures (physical) and psychogenic seizures (emotional).
Organic seizures have a physical cause, such as diabetes.
Because organic NES have a physical cause, they may be relatively easy to diagnose and treated when the underlying cause is found.
Psychogenic NES seizures are caused by mental or emotional issues. They may happen when someone’s reaction to painful or difficult thoughts and feelings affects them physically.
Psychogenic seizures include different types, but the most common type of NES is dissociative seizures. These happen unconsciously, which means that the person has no control over them.
NES can be difficult to diagnose because they can appear similar to epileptic seizures.
There are no symptoms that will definitely identify NES from epileptic seizures.
Psychotherapy is the recommended treatment for NES, and people can recover or reduce their seizures.
For some people, NES may disrupt their daily life or they may want to avoid activities in case they have a seizure. However, becoming isolated and anxious can may make seizures more likely.
Source: Epilepsy Society
But they returned at the beginning of this year and became more severe and frequent.
Doctors initially thought she had epilepsy but a series of tests eventually led to her diagnosis of NEAD.
The attacks look like epileptic seizures but are not caused by electrical activity in the brain.
It is currently believed the little-understood condition is the brain’s response to overwhelming stress. But there may be other causes.
In the same way that a computer may freeze if you open too many windows, the brain uses it as a way to ‘shut down’ when it is overloaded.
NEAD, thought to affect 15,000 Britons, causes convulsions and loss of bladder control.
Ms Brown said the condition has plunged her into depression and forced her to drift from many of her closest friends.
She said: ‘It’s just been getting me depressed – losing my job and everything. Everyone is moving on with their lives and I’m held back.
‘It’s very lonely. I don’t really do much. I can’t even have a bath alone. I average about ten seizures a day, although it was up at around 100 in February.
‘They range from staring into space to full-on fits. I have to make sure I’m in a safe place. A couple of times a month they go above 20 or 30 a day.’
She added: ‘It’s just embarrassing going out. Socialising is just no good as you’re in fear of having one [a seizure]. I’ve lost a lot of friends.
‘Friends use to invite me to go out but due to so many last-minute cancellations they naturally stopped asking.
‘I get occasional texts off of a couple of people but I just have lost contact with a lot as I rely on others. I won’t go anywhere on my own.’
Ms Brown said she lives in constant fear of an attack striking at any moment, but she is holding out hope they may vanish like they did in her teens.
She said: ‘I might have to live with [NEAD] for the rest of my life. But it could also stop tomorrow.
‘I’ve got some other health problems – I’m going through some tests at the moment.
‘They want to rule out epilepsy completely although I’m already sure it’s not. They have to be 100 per cent sure as if you’re not on medication it can damage your brain.’
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