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Epilepsy-Like Symptoms Attributed To Stress And Poor Coping Skills

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Epilepsy-Like Symptoms Attributed To Stress And Poor Coping Skills

Doctors and psychologists at Johns Hopkins have noticed that more than one-third of patients admitted with the presumptive diagnosis of epilepsy do not actually have epilepsy and their seizures are actually caused due to stress. Doctors call these crises that mimic epilepsy psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES). But unlike epilepsy, there is no discharge in the brain such as in epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by sudden and intense electrical discharges in the brain This electrical activity is manifested clinically by seizures that affect control of movement, of speech, of vision and sometimes even consciousness. Keep in mind that not all people who have seizures also have epilepsy, because seizures can be caused by brain injury, aggression. In this case, seizures disappear when the triggering cause disappear. In children, for example, seizures may occur due to fever.

Epilepsy seizures

Epilepsy Seizures

Two types of seizures are described , generalized and partial. It is important to differentiate between the two types because the treatment options are different. The generalized discharges are due to electrical discharges on all surface of the brain, and can affect the entire body. The partial start from a specific area of the brain and affects only the body. There are several conditions that are similar but they’re not  seizures, such as strong headaches, muscle spasms, apnea, etc.. These events do not go with AEDs, which as proving that no seizure etiology. The psychiatrists called in the past these events “hysteria”. Doctors believed that crises were due to emotional distress converted into  physical symptoms.

The study conducted by a  team of neuropsychologists and neurologists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and published in the online journal ‘Seizures’, notes that people with epilepsy-like symptoms are not able to cope with stressful situations. “These patients behave as if they have organic brain disease year, But they do not,” says Jason Brandt, Ph.D., the study’s senior investigator and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Researchers have tried to find out why some people are more likely to develop psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. therefore, The researchers analyzed more patients, including 40 with PNES, 20 epilepsy and 40 healthy individuals. When asked how often they experience stressful situations in their lives, patients with PNES reported a greater number of stressful situations. The researchers also found that those with PNES have difficulty getting out of a stressful situations,  have unstable relationships and high health care expenditures.