Autoimmune encephalitis (AE) can produce a very wide range of neuro-psychiatric symptoms. A major challenge in diagnosis is that different symptoms may appear at different times and different levels of intensity, so that the disease may mimic many other disorders. Some patients initially present with either neurological or psychiatric symptoms, further complicating diagnosis.
Symptoms commonly associated with AE can include:
slowed or loss of ability to speak
behavioral changes such as agitation
loss of inhibition
hallucinations (visual or auditory)
sleep disruption including severe insomnia
decreased level of consciousness – to the point of unresponsiveness, catatonia or coma
weakness or numbness of part of the body
loss of balance
Although just one of these symptoms does not imply autoimmune encephalitis, an otherwise unexplained mixture of the above neuro-psychiatric symptoms may be a clue that the underlying cause is autoimmune encephalitis.