Seizures can be very scary, and your mind may jump to epilepsy as a probable cause. In fact, there are many different types of seizures, known as non-epileptic seizures.
Non-epileptic Seizures vs. Epileptic Seizures
- Epileptic seizures are caused by sudden abnormal electrical discharges in the brain that can be seen on an electroencephalogram (EEG).
- Non-epileptic seizures (NES) are not caused by electrical discharges and do not show on an EEG. Some NES can be caused by migraine headaches, drops in blood pressure, movement disorders and other medical problems.
Non-epileptic Seizure Diagnosis in Washington, D.C.
The most common type of NES is the psychogenic seizure, which can be caused by mental or emotional stress. Because these seizures look like epileptic seizures, they are called pseudoseizures.
Non-epileptic seizures are very common. They are found in about 40 percent of the patients. They can affect adults, teens and children, but occur more often in females and people in their thirties and forties.
Non-epileptic Seizure Treatment in Washington, D.C.
Because epilepsy is a complex disorder to diagnose, our doctors often see patients who have been told they have epilepsy but in fact are experiencing NES. Many of these patients have taken antiepileptic drugs without any change in their seizures. If you have been told you have epilepsy and you are still experiencing seizures, even after you have tried two or three different medications, you may need a second opinion to accurately diagnose your seizures, or confirm your diagnosis of epilepsy.
Sometimes NES are caused by true physical conditions—like heart problems. However, most of these seizures are psychogenic and caused by stress or past trauma. This trauma can rest underneath the surface of a person’s day to day life and come out in the form of these seizures. Patients are not “faking it” when they have these types of seizures. But they must address the trauma in order to stop the seizures.
An effective treatment for past trauma and stress is counseling. You should seek out a therapist who has experience counseling people with NES. Some treatments may include:
- Stress reduction
- Behavioral therapy
The good news is, with proper treatment, seizures disappear in about 70 percent of adults. Children and adolescents have even higher rates of improvement after treatment.
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