A close up of a person's eyes and head who is wearing an EEG electrode cap.

What I Learned From My Electroencephalogram (EEG)

When it comes to medical issues connecting the dots can be complicated. Sometimes it takes new doctors with new tests to start making the connections.

When I started seeing a new specialist, she listened closely to all the health issues I discussed, ranging from my chronic migraine to my chronic fatigue, and even my diagnosis story. Much to my relief, this new specialist agreed there was more going on with my health than my current diagnosis. One step to determining what else I was living with was by having an electroencephalogram (EEG) done.

Featured Forum

View all responses caret icon

The doctor

This specialist, we shall call her doctor S, has a history of working in infectious diseases. Despite this, now she works as a type of internal medicine doctor. She is known locally for helping patients that rheumatologists cannot help.

I initially started seeing her after my rheumatologist felt like she could no longer help me with my fibromyalgia issues. She surprised me by being well-versed in several medical issues, including HIV. While I will never leave my current infectious diseases doctor, it is nice to have another doctor who understands HIV.

What is an electroencephalogram (EEG)?

An electroencephalogram is also known as an EEG. This test is designed to find abnormalities in your electrical brain activity. The electrodes, which are placed on your scalp, detect your brain activity. The information is recorded in graphs and images for the doctor to review.1

Going through an EEG

The test was painless. They put some stuff in my hair and attached these electrodes to my head. At first, it was like they took my baseline readings with my eyes closed while I relaxed for a while.

Afterward, they had me watch for certain-sized blue dots and then even listen for tones. Like a hearing test, I had a button to push when I saw or heard the desired occurrence.

The results of my EEG

The EEG picked up on my moderate levels of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It also showed my high levels of anxiety and insomnia.

Additionally, the test showed that I have a slow response time to visual and cognitive stimuli and a slow reaction time. There were also issues with focus, attention, and motivation. Finally, there were signs of short-term memory issues.

Some of the results of the EEG surprised me. This test was able to isolate issues I did not discuss with my doctor previously. For example, I never discussed some of my OCD tendencies; I was floored when she asked if I had any. And the evidence of "mild" cognitive impairment is something I feel like I have been struggling with for a long time.

Is there a relationship between fatigue and HIV?

People with HIV can experience fatigue. Unfortunately, there is no direct link or reason as to what causes those living with HIV to experience fatigue. Some of the causes of HIV-related fatigue may include:2

What I learned from my EEG

Sadly, for me, several of those causes factor into my situation. Then there are additional issues such as chronic fatigue disorder, high Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and toxic mold syndrome.

Overall, the EEG showed my doctor the effects my health conditions have on my cognitive abilities. My fatigue goes beyond simply being physically exhausted – it is affecting my ability to process and retain information.

Have you ever had an EEG done before? What was your experience? Did you learn anything new about your health?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The H-I-V.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.