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Slurred speech and facial weakness

Hello,

I am a relatively healthy and in shape 27 year old male. I teach high school English, and had a incident recently occur at work this past Thursday. I was teaching a class when I suddenly was unable to pronounce any words. I felt the side of my mouth sagging, and also felt extremely weak and dizzy. I left my class suddenly to go to the restroom and regain my composure. I then came back in the class, and was still unable to speak properly. Obviously.. I was thinking "stroke" at this point. I left the class again, and found the school nurse, who took my blood pressure and found it to be very high (I forget the exact reading). It was decided that I should go to the ER, and I didn't think I could drive, so a colleague took me.

Long story short... upon arrival at the ER was given a variety of tests to see if my life was in danger, and whether or not I was having a stroke. The immediate physical tests, and CT scans in the ER seemed to show that I did not have a stroke.
When I spoke with the doctor I told  him that I had been undergoing a great deal of stress lately. I am a first year teacher at an urban school for at risk youth, and have been fairly stressed from the nature of the job. I also had not been sleeping too well. I had significant difficulty speaking with the doctors in the ER, but it seemed to come and go, so that at one point i was able to converse naturally. In short.. it was very strange and disorienting.

That night I was admitted to the hospital and had an MRI done to show more detail. The MRI also came back all clear. I spoke to a number of people on the phone that night, and my speech was seeming to improve, even back to normal at times. However after I woke up the next day, my speech had seemed to regress to being very slurred. I also could not move parts of the left side of my face.
After all the neurology tests (and a EKG heart exam) all came back normal, the doctor basically told me that I did not have a stroke, and everything seemed neurologically and physically normal with me. It was suggested that my symptoms were possibly due to anxiety and stress. The doctor referred me to a psychiatrist and speech therapist, and wrote prescriptions for anti-anxiety meds.
It is now Saturday (2 days later) and my speech has not improved at all. I can positively say that my slurred speech is due to the one side of my mouth/face not functioning properly. I am basically speaking out of the side of my mouth now, and not able to fully form or enunciate words.

I acknowledge that the stressful conditions that I was working and living in could have been very conducive to some type of extreme panic/anxiety attack, and I know that the brain can do crazy things to the body. Yet, I am having a very difficult time accepting my diagnosis. The fact that some of my facial muscles are not responding makes me feel like it is an organic problem rather than a mental one.

Does anyone else have any experience with similar symptoms? Could a severe panic attack result in slurred speech/weakened facial muscles, that last for sometimes after to incident? I am not able to work in my current condition, since I speak all day long for a living. I am hoping this will get better soon. Any advice or input is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
4 Responses
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Avatar universal
The neurologist thought it wasn't bells palsy because my eye wasn't drooping. However I think it could be a possibility.. I plan on getting tested for lymes disease as well, which can result in facial paralysis.
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Avatar universal
Thank you for your help, the CT scans and MRI didn't show anything stroke related, and I passed all the immediate physical tests for stroke. However, part of me wonders if it was just too small to show up on the tests. However, i did hear that symptoms from TIAs only last for less than 24 hrs. My speech related symptoms are entering day 4. I'll stay on the docs like you said though. Thanks again!
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Avatar universal
Also, was Bell's Palsy ruled out on you?  That is virally based and is treated with steroids at times.  
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Avatar universal
I have never heard of it being anxiety related before for slurred speech in absence of inebriation, and I'm an RN (although that doesn't make me omnipotent).  It tends to sound more like TIAs which are mini strokes.  Did they start you on a daily low dose aspirin?  If they didn't...I'd take one daily regardless, because of it's beneficial nature to the heart.  Keep after the MDs on this, because they are not infallable.  Good luck!
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