People with nonepileptic seizures (NES) have periods of seizure-like activity. NES are characterized by a loss of or change in physical function without a central nervous system problem. The loss or change causes periods of physical activity or inactivity that resemble epileptic seizures. A person can have both nonepileptic and epileptic seizures.
NES are usually related to a mental health problem. The physical symptoms may be caused by emotional conflicts or stress. One example of NES is psychogenic seizures, sometimes called pseudoseizures.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder characterized by recurrent seizures -- episodes of abnormal electrical activity in almost any part of the brain. The symptoms of a seizure can mimic different types of human behavior, depending on which part of the brain is affected. Generally, the term epilepsy (or seizure disorder) refers to relatively stereotyped attacks of involuntary behavior. The exact symptoms and severity may vary, and the seizures may occur infrequently or in rapid succession.
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:
People with NES usually exhibit only one symptom. But if episodes recur, the symptom may reappear but in a different location or intensity.
Treatment of NES varies with each person. The goals of treatment for NES are to relieve the stress or emotional conflicts that may be causing the loss of or change in physical function. Treatment may include medicines, counseling, 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.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
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