Silently Seizing

Originally published on PsychCentral

Photo Credit: Google images

Silently Seizing
By: Caren Haines, RN

At a mere 137 pages, one would think that Caren Haines’ book would be an easy, finish-in-one-sitting kind of book. One would be wrong-very wrong. The book is written in a very straightforward and almost conversational tone. However, it deals with Autism and Autism spectrum disorders and the seemingly little known connection between Autism and seizures. It is absolutely packed to the brim with medical information.

Caren Haines is both a registered nurse (RN) and mom to her son, Josh. Josh was diagnosed with Autism as a toddler and soon after presented with symptoms that troubled his mother. He would stare off into space at nothing for extended periods of time, for instance. During these episodes, nothing anyone around Josh said or did could get his attention. It became extremely difficult for Josh to focus on anything and these episodes seemed to become more frequent and last longer as time went on. Josh began having problems communicating as well. He was also getting very severe headaches. When Haines took her concerns to Josh’s doctors, they were initially dismissed as a presentation of common Autism symptoms.

Not satisfied, Haines took her son to doctor after doctor. Finally, a neurologist diagnosed Josh with “partial epilepsy”. In this “silent seizure disorder,” patients do not violently convulse. Rather, only part of the brain is affected. During a seizure, the brain’s electrical system goes haywire. Everything fires at once and the brain simply “short circuits” itself. When most of us think of a seizure, we think of only one type of seizure. We think of what’s called a “grand mal” seizure. People with these types of seizures shake violently for the entire duration of the seizure. They might be in danger of swallowing their tongues, hitting their heads, or foaming at the mouth. However, this is only one type of seizure. Other types of seizures present with different symptoms. In Josh’s case, the part of the brain that was affected was the hippocampus (memory center) and the part of the brain responsible for concentration and speech.

The book tells not only Josh’s story but also backs up what the Haines family experienced with lots of science. Thankfully, Caren Haines does a fantastic job of explaining all of the rather complicated medical information in the book. She explains what Autism is, as well as what it isn’t. With the help of doctors she’s met along the way, she is also able to help thoroughly explain various types of seizure disorders that are surprisingly common in kids with Autism, common seizure symptoms, and why they often go undetected in kids and adults. If left untreated, Haines says the seizures can lead to psychosis and possibly self-injury behaviors. This little book packs a serious punch in the information department. It covers what tests may need to be done to obtain a diagnosis, as well as possible medications and other treatments that look promising. Caren Haines nursing background and personal experience lend an iron-clad amount of credibility to the book, the story of her son, and the science behind it all.

In short, this book fascinated me. Then again, I’m kind of a psychology nerd. I love the brain and figuring out how it works, so it wasn’t hard for me to get into at all. The book is short, but packed with a lot of great content. Haines does a superb job of laying all the heavy science information out so that it’s easy to grasp for any reader. The only real downside is that there may be too much information. Reading it at times was a little overwhelming. However, I highly recommend Silently Seizing if you or someone you know has seizures or Autism.

Silently Seizing
By: Caren Haines
AAPC Publishing
137 pages



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Fallon Marie

She/her ♿️🇺🇸🏳️‍🌈🤘🏻🦋✝️If you can’t stand up, stand out Writer, cat mom, future therapist, Disney nerd. advocate Hebrews 4:15-16.