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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.

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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.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
Last Revised August 26, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 26, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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