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Question
Posted by: Spooky | 2011-04-19

Temporary psychosis?

Dear Prof,
It has been many moons - I trust you are in good health and have preserved your hilariously entertaining sense of humour.

My 40 yr old friend (&  confidant) appears to have developed a possible cerebral or even physical neurological problem and so we turn to you for advice.

She seems to have experienced a spell of dementia (pseudo?) when she wandered off aimlessly without any real assignment or undertaking in mind. She was found by caring strangers and brought back home. She had been roving around without purpose or direction. She had also sent me messages during this time that made no sense at all - words &  sentences were completely undecipherable. We are both frightened by this behaviour as, with hindsight, she appears to have been psychotic at the time.

She had not consumed any alcohol or meds.
She recovered quickly after and is as confused about the episode as I am. She is of exceptional intelligence and has a phenomenally pleasant personality.

She now also experiences character changes –  rapid mood swings with aggression &  irritability.

She suffers unrelenting headaches on her right side which proliferates to include her right ear.
She also encounters the sound of wind blowing through her ears/head –  not painful (Auditory hallucination?) but induces disorientation &  dizziness. Generally acutely sensitive to all sounds.

Any ideas as to the possible cause(s) and what kind of tests she may have to undergo in order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis?

Additional Med History:
Fusion of C4/C5/C6 –  degenerative discs
Extreme discomfort and Pins and needles in hand/arm/shoulder/neck.

Many thanks for your time and expertise.
Your old Friend
Spooky.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I lost count of the moons ( well, it's been overcast ) but good to hear fropm you again, Spooky. Sorry to hear about this puzzling episode in your friend. If we can rule out alcohol and/or drug abuse or withdrawal, there are still so many potential causes that a thorough check-up, firstly for possible physical causes, by a neurologist or general physician, is needed.
The headaches are unpleasant, and may indicate, for instance, a possible ear abscess ( I remember having one as a child, and it was frightening, and apart from the pain did cause me to hear unpleasant noises. And then there's this hypersensitivity to sounds, and dizziness / disturbance of balance. Maybe an ENT consultation would also be wise. Any changes in hearing as such ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-04-19

I lost count of the moons ( well, it's been overcast ) but good to hear fropm you again, Spooky. Sorry to hear about this puzzling episode in your friend. If we can rule out alcohol and/or drug abuse or withdrawal, there are still so many potential causes that a thorough check-up, firstly for possible physical causes, by a neurologist or general physician, is needed.
The headaches are unpleasant, and may indicate, for instance, a possible ear abscess ( I remember having one as a child, and it was frightening, and apart from the pain did cause me to hear unpleasant noises. And then there's this hypersensitivity to sounds, and dizziness / disturbance of balance. Maybe an ENT consultation would also be wise. Any changes in hearing as such ?

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