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What are some characteristics of pseudoseizures?

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Quick Answer

While they look like other seizures, such as those related to epilepsy, pseudoseizures do not occur in conjunction with abnormal electrical activity in the brain, notes WebMD. Doctors who find normal electroencephalogram, or EEG, results in patients with seizures, or note that patients are not responding to epilepsy medications, may diagnose pseudoseizures and recommend therapy and psychiatric drugs.

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Pseudoseizures, also called psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, feel as real to those who suffer with them as seizures related to conditions such as epilepsy, states About.com. Pseudoseizures have psychological rather than physical causes and can affect anyone, though women and young adults are more likely to experience this type of seizure. People who have histories of sexual trauma, psychiatric problems, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue or pain are also at higher risk of suffering from pseudoseizures.

Doctors may have difficulty diagnosing pseudoseizures, particularly in patients who also suffer from epileptic seizures, who make up about 15 percent of cases, according to About.com. Doctors may note that in addition to having normal EEG results and not responding to seizure medications, those with pseudoseizures rarely hurt themselves to the same extent as those with epileptic seizures and may be able to talk, which is also uncommon during epileptic seizures. Doctors treat pseudoseizures by educating patients about their condition and recommending mental health treatment for underlying conditions such as the depression or anxiety that led to the seizures.

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