What Are the Symptoms of a Pseudo-Seizure?


Quick Answer

Symptoms of pseudo-seizures include convulsions, uncontrollable movements, far-off stares and other epilepsy-linked symptoms, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. Pseudo-seizures, technically known as psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, are related to emotional trauma and stress rather than malfunctioning electrical discharges.

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The two types of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures or PNESs are those with prominent motor components or those with prominently affective components, explains the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The former manifests more in movement and nerves with symptoms that include incontinence, tongue-biting, shaking and rigidity. The latter is more based on emotion with fewer seizure-like symptoms.

PNESs are caused by psychological and emotion stressors such as anxiety, stress, depression, and PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder that converts distress into physical symptoms, states the American Academy of Family Physicians. The treatment options depend on the specific cause of the seizures. For instance, an individual with PNES caused by anxiety or panic needs treatment for the panic attacks. Depression that causes nonepileptic seizures as an unconscious way for the sad person to become distracted needs to be treated with cognitive behavior therapy or antidepressant medication. Individuals or veterans with PTSD have memory or sensory triggers that result in flashbacks and seizures and need to be treated for the PTSD with various therapies or serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

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