The type of seizure suffered by singer Chris Brown isn’t uncommon and usually causes no long-term problems, doctors say.
Publicist Nicole Perna says the 24-year-old Look At Me Now singer suffered a non-epileptic seizure early Friday morning while he was working in a Los Angeles studio.
Perna blamed the seizure on intense fatigue and extreme emotional stress. A doctor examined the 24-year-old but he wasn’t hospitalized.
About 6% to 8% of all seizures occur because of extreme stress and sleep deprivation, rather than an underlying medical condition, such as epilepsy, says Magdy Selim, an associate professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. It is affiliated with Harvard Medical School.
“All of us, if under extreme stress and sleep deprivation, would have a seizure,” says Selim, who has not treated Brown.
Many things can cause seizures, says Selim, including drugs and alcohol.
Seizures that are more severe and long-lasting can cause more damage than shorter, less serious ones, Selim says. Repeated seizures also can leave long-term damage. In most cases, however, a single seizure doesn’t cause long-term medical problems.
Epileptic seizures are caused by electrical overactivity in the brain, says Bernard Chang, of Beth Israel Deaconess’ Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, also an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Non-epileptic seizures may “occur in the setting of stress or emotional upset, and they may represent a form of psychological reaction to difficult circumstances.”
Symptoms can vary, Chang says.
“On the mildest end, seizures can lead to brief periods of abnormal sensations while an individual remains awake, while more complicated seizures can cause altered behavior and impaired awareness,” Chang says. “The most severe kind of epileptic seizure can lead to loss of consciousness and convulsive movements of the entire body.”
People can be injured even by relatively benign seizures, however, if they fall and hit their head, Chang says, or if the seizure occurs while someone is driving a car.
In general, Chang says, “the focus of treatment in non-epileptic seizures lies in trying to identify the underlying triggers and stresses that may be associated with the episodes and reducing the impact of those factors.”
Perna, Brown’s spokeswoman, says a “continued onslaught of unfounded legal matters and the nonstop negativity” contributed to Brown’s illness.
The singer has been on felony probation since the 2009 beating of then-girlfriend Rihanna.
A judge revoked his probation last month and ordered a hearing in a May 12 hit-and-run case.
In February, authorities investigated a fight between Brown and singer Frank Ocean at a recording studio, but Ocean didn’t press charges.