What is psychogenic nonepileptic seizures?

Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures

Psychogenic seizures

Psychogenic seizures are seizures that do not have a physical cause. They can be caused by stress, injury, emotional trauma, or mental illness.

Psychogenic seizures are a type of nonepileptic seizure. This means they are not caused by epilepsy. But people with epilepsy may have psychogenic seizures. Psychogenic seizures are sometimes called pseudoseizures.

It is important to distinguish psychogenic seizures from epilepsy, because the risks may outweigh any benefit of treating psychogenic seizures with antiepileptic medicines.

  • Psychogenic seizures are not caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. A person having a psychogenic seizure will not have the typical electroencephalogram (EEG) findings of an epileptic seizure.
  • The events that are witnessed during a psychogenic seizure tend to vary from seizure to seizure. This is different from epileptic seizures, which seem to progress in a similar pattern every time.

How is psychogenic non-epileptic seizure (PNES) treated?

Treatment varies with each person. The goals of treatment are to relieve stress and to help you learn ways to cope with difficult areas of your life.

Counseling is the main treatment for PNES. Because PNES are not caused by a problem in the brain, medicines that are used to treat epilepsy are not used to treat this condition.

How is psychogenic non-epileptic seizure (PNES) diagnosed?

Your doctor will do tests to find out if you have epilepsy. An EEG test lets your doctor see the electrical activity of your brain. The test is often used to diagnose epilepsy. It helps your doctor know what types of seizures you are having.

Your doctor also may do blood tests.

PNES can be mistaken for epilepsy at first. As a result, some people with PNES are treated with epilepsy medicines. But most of the time, these medicines don't help. The right diagnosis allows your doctor to give you treatments that will help with the stress and other issues that may be related to PNES.

What is psychogenic non-epileptic seizure (PNES)?

Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) don't have a physical cause. They aren't caused by epilepsy. But people with epilepsy also may have PNES. People who have a lot of stress, mental illness, or emotional trauma may be more likely to have PNES.

Even though PNES doesn't have a physical cause, it is a real condition. The seizures can be scary. And not knowing why you're having them can be frustrating.

What happens during psychogenic non-epileptic seizure (PNES)?

PNES may look like epileptic seizures. But epileptic seizures usually follow the same pattern every time. With PNES, each episode may be different.

During a PNES episode, you may have jerky movements, tingling skin, or problems with coordination. You may notice changes in your vision or sense of smell.

Some people have episodes often. Others have them only once in a while. For some people, episodes stop over time. Other people keep having them.

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