According to the Epilepsy Foundation, pseudo-seizures are common. Research shows that about 20 percent of people who attend epilepsy centers for electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring are having pseudo-seizures rather than epileptic seizures.
SymptomsWhile pseudoseizures are distinct from epileptic seizures, their symptoms are similar. Symptoms of a pseudoseizure may include:
- involuntary muscle stiffening, convulsing, and jerking
- loss of attention
- loss of consciousness
- falling down
- staring blankly
- lack of awareness of surroundings
CausesPseudo-seizures tend to result from mental health conditions and can often occur because of severe psychological stress. The stress may be due to a single traumatic event, or to an underlying chronic condition.
TreatmentTreatment for pseudoseizures varies considerably and will often focus on managing the symptoms of any mental health conditions or other stress factors.
In general, some treatments that may be effective for treating PNES include:
- individual or family counseling
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- relaxation techniques
- behavioral therapy
- eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, for traumatic memories
- medications for underlying psychological issues