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Case Rep Med. 2010;2010:565980. doi: 10.1155/2010/565980. Epub 2010 Jul 4.

When a doctor becomes a patient with a mystery illness: a case report.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Medicine, Section for Psychiatry, University of Bergen, PB 23, Sandviken, 5812 Bergen, Norway.


Symptoms presenting as mental disorders may represent epileptic discharges, especially from the temporal lobe. Both mental and somatic symptoms are common in temporal lobe epilepsy, which may confuse doctors, leading to extensive medical examinations and tests, false diagnoses, and ineffective treatment. Also, the episodic nature and variety of symptoms between as well as in individual cases hinder correct diagnosis. Since epileptic discharges may be visible on EEG only during an epileptic fit-and may need highly specialized equipment to detect-many cases are undiagnosed or treated under false diagnoses. The author believes that undetected temporal lobe epilepsy falsely labelled as psychiatric disorders are common. Specific and effective treatment exists for temporal lobe epilepsy, making correct diagnosis important. This history-based on the author's personal experience-also illustrates aspects of the physician-patients' problems and resources, as well as the gap between somatic and psychiatric medicine concerning this rather common neuropsychiatric disorder.

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