People with non-epileptic seizures (NES) have periods of seizure-like
activity. NES are characterized by a loss of or change in physical function
central nervous system problem. The loss or change
causes periods of physical activity or inactivity that resemble
epileptic seizures. A person can have both
non-epileptic and epileptic seizures.
NES are usually related to a mental health problem, like an emotional conflict or stress. But sometimes NES are related to a problem like low blood sugar or the way the heart is working. One example of NES is psychogenic seizures, sometimes called pseudoseizures.
NES symptoms usually
appear suddenly and at times of extreme emotional stress. Some doctors believe that the symptoms of NES may be an attempt to reduce
anxiety by not recognizing or responding to an emotional conflict.
People with NES have periods of loss of or change in physical
activity that resemble epileptic seizures or the
aura of a seizure, such as:
Impaired or jerky
Disturbances in coordination.
Loss of the sense of smell
Tingling sensation to the skin.
People with NES usually exhibit only one symptom. But if
episodes recur, the symptom may reappear but in a different location or
Treatment of NES varies with each person. The goals of treatment
for NES are to relieve the stress or an emotional conflict that may be causing
the loss of or change in physical function. Physical causes, such as low blood sugar or a heart issue, are treated as needed. Treatment may include medicines,
counselling, or specific life changes, such as a job
change or assistance at home.
Because NES are not caused by a problem in the brain, medicines that
are used to treat epilepsy are not used to treat this condition.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerSteven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology