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 associated with AE can include:

  • weakness or numbness of part of the body
  • loss of balance
  • slowed or blurred speech or loss of ability to speak
  • ataxia
  • involuntary movements
  • distorted vision
  • cognitive impairment
  • memory disturbance
  • decreased level of consciousness – to the point of unresponsiveness, catatonia or coma
  • seizures – (either self-evident, or smaller seizures that show up on an eeg reading)
  • partial or complete loss of appetite for long periods
  • food and drink tasting inedible or triggering nausea
  • excessive eating without feeling sated
  • agitation
  • inability to sleep
  • loss of inhibition
  • rapid, pressured, or involuntary speech
  • hallucinations (visual or auditory) and delirium
  • paranoid thoughts
  • severe anxiety

An otherwise unexplained mixture of the above neuro-psychiatric symptoms may be a clue that the underlying cause is autoimmune encephalitis.

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