Causes of Pseudoseizures

causes of pseudoseizures

Generally, seizures are the outcome of epilepsy, a physical issue in brain structure or in the nerve cells that run in the brain. In some cases, however, the cause of seizures is difficult to discover and instead of epilepsy, a person might be diagnosed with pseudoseizures.

Pseudoseizures, also called psychogenic seizures or nonepileptic seizures, take place in about 20 percent of patients who look for treatment for seizures. Some people have both epileptic seizures and pseudoseizures.

When a person has seizures that last an uncommonly long time or appear atypical when compared to epileptic seizures, pseudoseizures might be suspected. Somebody having a pseudoseizure may twitch or convulse and could even pass out. Pseudoseizure patients might also experience mental symptoms, foring example feelings of deja vu or extreme worry. A psychogenic seizure often lasts far longer than a normal epileptic seizure, approximately 20 minutes in some cases.


Unlike epileptic seizures, pseudoseizures are not caused by an electrical misfiring in the brain. Instead, the cause is mental. Psychogenic seizures may develop in individuals who have experienced severe injury, such as child abuse. Pseudoseizures may take place at any age, however are more common in young people and teenagers. Females are likewise more vulnerable to nonepileptic seizures.

The real physical symptoms victims of pseudoseizures experience are caused by underlying mental problems.

What Are the Symptoms of Pseudoseizures?

Seizures are often accompanied by symptoms and signs like a quick, unexpected blackout or confusion, a change in state of mind or behavior, muscle spasms, drooling/frothing in the mouth, eye motion, grunting, snorting, teeth clinching, breath holding, and sudden falling. These symptoms just last for a few seconds or minutes. However, when someone has a convulsion that lasts for an unusually longer time or in a various way compared to an epileptic seizure, one might believe a pseudoseizure. PNES is a common psychiatric disorder that might result from stress and lead to malingering.

Home owner who are exhibiting pseudoseizures might shake and appear to lose consciousness. They may also reveal feelings of extreme fear ordéjà vu. Psychogenic pseudo seizures typically last far longer than just a couple of minutes.

View the video below to see how a patient with pseudoseizures acts:

Medical diagnosis

To diagnose a patient with pseudoseizures, physicians need to distinguish between these types of seizures and epilepsy. This generally includes monitoring with an electroencephalogram, or EEG while all at once seeing the patient by means of a video recording. Without the EEG to determine brain activity, it is extremely difficult to distinguish between pseudoseizures and epileptic seizures. According to Medlink Neurology, professional experts in epilepsy make an inaccurate medical diagnosis 20 to 30 percent of the time when the decision is based on a video recording alone.


Treatment involves mental counseling to eliminate the damaging associations that set off the seizures and treatment for depression or anxiety in patients who need this kind of assistance. If the patient has actually been formerly put on anticonvulsant drugs, these should be stopped since they can make pseudoseizures even worse, according to the University of Michigan. Proper treatment of a patient with pseudoseizures might involve the coordinated participation of a neurologist, psychiatrist and a basic doctor. With treatment, pseudoseizures may be totally treatable. According to the Stanford Epilepsy Center, more than HALF of treated patients ultimately stop having pseudoseizures.

Factors to consider

Lots of people who have pseudoseizures feel confused by their medical diagnosis, believing they are in some way responsible for their condition. Nevertheless, psychogenic seizures are not in fact under the control of the individual who has them, however are a product of the subconscious. In spite of the truth that they are mental in origin, they can still be hazardous for the patient. For that reason, acquiring correct treatment to relieve pseudoseizures should be a top priority for patients who have them.

Last modified: August 5, 2016


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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