Non-epileptic seizures

Non-epileptic seizures are incidents that bear a resemblance to epileptic seizures but are not directly triggered by electrical changes in the brain. There are several factors that cause a non-epileptic seizure and some of them include severe mental and emotional trauma, migraine, narcolepsy, and other physiological conditions that have an effect on the flow of blood to the brain as well as constant changes in the levels of oxygen and sugar in the brain.

There are two types of non-epileptic seizures and they are: psychogenic seizures and physiologic seizures. A psychogenic seizure is a direct result of the body’s reaction to severe mental, physical, and emotional trauma such as death of a loved one, domestic abuse, and sexual exploitation. Conditions that are related to stress can also trigger a psychogenic seizure, as well as hallucinations and extreme mood swings. Several factors can trigger a physiologic seizure such as abnormal sleeping patterns, excessive amounts of alcohol, fainting spells, hypoglycemia, low blood pressure, and other physiological conditions that affect the sugar and oxygen levels as well as the flow of blood into the brain.

It is essential that people be aware of the symptoms of a non-epileptic seizure as it is an acute condition that needs to be taken seriously for it might lead to a potentially dangerous situation. People who tend to bite the tip or the sides of the tongue while having a seizure have been known to suffer from a non-epileptic seizure that is provoked by psychological factors. Psychological stress and severe emotional and mental trauma can trigger a non-epileptic seizure that may present itself through sudden emotional outbursts such as uncontrollable crying fits or shrieking and screaming. Certain jerking movements could hint at a non-epileptic seizure such as thrusting the pelvis and bending backwards of the neck, spine, and head.

When induced by psychological factors, however, people tend to break things and thrash around while having a fit. Epileptic seizures tend to start off abruptly through dominant symptoms as opposed to non-epileptic seizures, where the fits slowly escalate and gradually build in intensity. Another indication that a person is experiencing a non-epileptic seizure is the fact that it takes him only a short period of time to fully recover as opposed to an epileptic seizure, where it takes a person a few hours to recover then they generally continue to suffer from severe exhaustion, extreme headache, and mild confusion afterwards.

To diagnose a patient who is suspected to suffer from a non-epileptic seizure, a complete personal medical history is required to determine the root and cause of the condition. Doctors who administer the diagnosis are usually psychiatrists, neurologists, and psychologists. There are different tests that a patient undergoes to find out if it is indeed a non-epileptic seizure that he is suffering from. Some of these tests include an EEG test or electroencephalogram, wherein several metal discs and small pads with wires that connect them to a machine are placed onto your head to trace the brain wave activity. An MRI scan takes pictures of your brain, and the same goes for a CT scan. A video-electroencephalography documents the changes in behavior, while standard blood tests are taken more than once to constantly check the condition of your body.

To treat a non-epileptic seizure, healthcare professionals study the condition to see if the patient has any health problems that need attention. Antidepressants and medicines that treat anxiety can also be given to calm the person and treat depression. Therapy is also recommended for the patient to learn how to control his emotions as well as physical and mental reactions.

Last updated on Feb 10th, 2012 and filed under Neurological Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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