Psychogenic AND Epileptic. Anyone else have this too?

So I'm in the hospital today, (was yesterday too) for VEEG testing.

I had a two "attacks" yesterday that included sudden numbness in face neck and arms, sudden tension to the point where my hands were bent in funny ways, loss of mobility in arms, jerking/muscle spasms, emotional, with clouded awareness and some loss of memory. Believe it or not, these attacks were shown to be psychogenic according to my EEG. They also say that based on previous EEGs I still have confirmed epileptic seizures. So what I know right now, and what we are looking at, is that I have both epileptic AND PNES. I have been prescribed Lamictal for my epileptic spells.

Gonna be in the hospital another day or so.

Anybody else deal with both epileptic and psychogenic seizures? It would be nice to hear about some individuals that have the issue of detrmining spells caused by unconscious mood stressors vs spells caused by epilepsy. How do you cope? What triggers have you found? Have you found a difference between the two?



Re: Psychogenic AND Epileptic. Anyone else have this too?

Yes, I have both and here's a little research:

Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures – (PNES)

PNES as defined by the Epilepsy Foundation, is a psychogenic non-epileptic seizure. They’re caused by psychological trauma or conflict that impacts the patient’s state of mind. 

The Epilepsy Foundation states that sexual or physical abuse is the leading cause of psychogenic seizures, where the abuse occurred during childhood or more recently: life changes, like death and divorce are another possible cause of a psychogenic seizures.  This form of seizure often resembles a complex partial or tonic-clonic (grand-mal) seizure, with generalized convulsions, stiffening, jerking, falling, shaking and crying. Less often, a psychogenic seizure resembles a complex partial seizure, with a temporary loss of attention.

Interestingly, about 1 in 6 of these patients either already has epileptic seizures or has had them. So different treatment is needed for each disorder. Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures are most often seen in adolescents and young adults, but they also can occur in children and the elderly. And they are three times more common in females!

Doctors have identified certain kinds of movements and patterns that seem to be more common in psychogenic seizures than in seizures caused by epilepsy. Some of these patterns do occur occasionally in epileptic seizures however, so having one of them does not necessarily mean that the seizure was non-epileptic.

Phylis Feiner Johnson

Re: Psychogenic AND Epileptic. Anyone else have this too?

I also have that!!!! I'm on delaint and my moods are crazy sometimes, but I have been on the medication for 2 years. So I know if I'm going to have a good day or a bad!! The worst thing about the seizures is that your so SORE after the fact!Elania

Re: Psychogenic AND Epileptic. Anyone else have this too?

I have that to Elania. Although it was painful for me and still is because I've had all types of seizures since 12yrs. I had brain surgery though and the main ones that I have now (along with side-effect from surgery) are Psychogenic seizures. Due to the fact that many here do not know what those are people in the medical field here denied them which REALLY hurt my feelings.  I myself found proof and infact until later they were written about.I have an illness though so I just let it be. They didn't have the option of my talking about them on most epilepsy sites due to lack of their knowing about them. I want to go to college but I doubt very seriously that I can afford it and while I was trying out for college last time. Many denied my condition so I ended up getting very depressed and giving up. I really wish that the epilepsy community would at least help me to help them. I learned to make a site all on my own because I couldn't afford to pay someone to do it. I'm a HUGE epilepsy advocate and always will be. :) I'm awful glad that there are others that I can relate to.

Re: Psychogenic AND Epileptic. Anyone else have this too?

You might look up the hemiparesis article at Wikipedia. Also, you might take a look at: (Modern nutrition). Possible insights here and there (no cures).

Re: Psychogenic AND Epileptic. Anyone else have this too?

Hi Allina,

I considered the possibility of "Psychogenic Epileptic Seizures" in statistical correlations, with the assumption of "causal" by the sharpness of distinction in the flow of time (i.e., did the psychological element "cause" the chemical/organic emotional event and come before the neurological event, or vice-versa for both elements (or no significant correlations at all?)).

"Psychogenic epileptic seizures are those which arise as a consequence of mental activity. Primary psychogenic epileptic seizures are produced by a deliberate mental attempt to induce a seizure." And, "Secondary psychogenic epileptic seizures (also called the 'thinking epilepsies') are those which occur when the subject is thinking, calculating, or 'feeling', but not trying to induce a seizure." (6-12). From "Behavioural treatment of epilepsy" by Peter B.C. Fenwick, (Postgrad Med J (1990) 66, 336- 338) ( ) . With the added weight of the "Fake Bad Scale" (FBS) lawsuits involving brain damage as being the "deliberate" (whether conscious or unconscious) cause of the "Faking Bad" and used as a weapon by neuropsychologists seeking material gain, ( ) I had already tried to retain the "Beyond Freedom & Dignity" stance of radical behaviourism. (versus Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES) at esp. pages 7, 9).

Using strong aversive conditioning (much like the fictional "Ludovico Technique"), I tried to condition an otherwise neutral stimulus into a Pavlovian "trigger" of visceral events. It never reached levels of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy ictal events, but the clue that ictal events are very strong reinforcers themselves became readily apparent, leading to many chance reinforced behaviours (conditioned "superstitious behaviours" by Skinnerian Behaviourism terminology, (often from just one event)) in addition to any easily rationalized or rational behaviours. Books like "Gates and Rowan's Nonepileptic Seizures" by Schachter and LaFrance (2010), almost totally ignore the direct effects of seizures as directly conditioning behaviours, and instead, tend to give any attention to only indirect conditioning involving social interactions, while needlessly catergorizing the more "superstitious behaviours" as Mental Disorders (an extreme example would be calling "Mentally ill" a person (experiencing a warning of an impending tonic-clonic seizure), seeking an open area away from dangerous objects, while prostrating, and chanting repetitiously in an otherwise maybe futile attempt to preclude a seizure, that by chance didn't more fully materialize).

As in the articles I cited in the forum "What Part of Your Epilepsy Do You Hate Most?", the majority of simple and complex partial seizures are not frequently detected by surface electrodes of a VEEG, and any assumption that partial seizures are easily detected by a VEEG using surface electrodes is an abuse of the information derived from a VEEG. Major number calculation mistakes are also made from the assumption of "cause" being confused with the results of conditional probabilities with manipulated environments.

Many emitted unusual behaviours from individuals, who have been conditioned to avoid seizures by such behaviours, work at precluding seizures. So definitely, no abnormal "seizure EEG" events are then detectable, while the individual experienced correlates of seizures, seizures which would have otherwise have a high chance of materializing. By the PNES philosophy, such success by the individual constitutes a Mental Disorder.


Re: Psychogenic AND Epileptic. Anyone else have this too?

Kids always refer to nuts as crazy or epileptic, after they're told that you're epileptic and have seizures. They have have no idea of what a seizure is so they think you'll go crazy and be a nut. It's probably related to both words ending the same so they think their the same. Timothy Baldwin

Re: Psychogenic AND Epileptic. Anyone else have this too?

What I thought was interesting, was the fact that he kept saying I had both, and I kept asking him if I might of just been having simple partials the whole time, and he said yes. Already a contradiction.

Second contradiction was when I asked him about all these "stressors" and "mood problems" that are correlated to psychogenic, and asked him why they don't correlate them to temporal lobe epilepsy based on where our seizures are located. He kept saying "well yes, those who have TLE are more likely to have depression." okay, so is it possible psychogenic seizures are related to TLE and not mood disorders? And he said doctors today still don't know enough about the disorder.

My question is, if they don't know "enough" about the disorder, then why are they so quick to judge mental over physical? I understand that psychogenic seizures are hard to control without the proper stress management therapies, etc., but what if psychogenics are real seizures; simple partial, or something on the inside that wouldn't necessarily show up on an EEG. EEGs only test the surface. Individuals could be getting brain damage due to a wrongful diagnosis.

Re: Psychogenic AND Epileptic. Anyone else have this too?

I have epilepsy and was recently diagnosed with conversion disorder. I was admitted into St Joseph's Hospital, Phoenix, AZ in April. While in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, I was evaluated with a 24 hour EEG/Video Monitoring. I experienced approximately four "events".  The "events" were captured on the EEG and by video. After three days, the doctor told me that I do, indeed have epilepsy, but the "events" I was having were called Psychogenic Non Epileptic seizures. There was no electrical change during the events. What I was experiencing mimiced an epileptic seizure, but it was non epileptic in nature.  I could not understand why I was having these seizures other than I was under an enormous amount of stress.

In June this year, I was hospitalized for severe depression. The PNES had increased to a point where I could not function. The seizures are unpredictable and uncontrollable. While in the treatment center, I was prescribed an antidepressant and something for sleep. I had two events while in the treatment center. My diagnosis was conversion disorder.  Apparantly, my body processes stress into physical form, which happen to be seizures.  I am very frustrated because I cannot control the seizures. I cannot work or drive. I had to give up my kids and move in with my mother or else be homeless.

I am hoping to see about receiving neurofeedback and brainmapping. I have read a lot about this type of therapy and am hoping to learn more about it.

I would like to hear if anyone else had the same experience.



Re: Psychogenic AND Epileptic. Anyone else have this too?

I'd thought that its about time for a seizure.Then a day or two later I'll have one.Was this one which felt normal a PNES. Could that have been brought on by my timing, or could they really an epileptic seizure that had to come out. Timothy Baldwin

Re: Psychogenic AND Epileptic. Anyone else have this too?

Hi TBaldwin,

Many doctors blamed most everything but epilepsy for my periodic clusters of seizures, and my more minor irregular seizures were dismissed as not having any reality. The results of epilepsy not being considered is something I didn't outgrow in adolescence, but the results more closely matched kindling models of epilepsy, and in a couple decades after adolescence, the clusters of phenomena included life-threatening secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures. The soft-science of mental health and personality testing displayed the characteristics of the long term uncontrolled epilepsy results of epileptic personality traits. A very strong seizure in a cluster of seizure often represents a peak, with the following seizures being more minor; Electro-Convulsive Therapy is at times claimed to provide a moderately wide window of protection from epileptic seizures, but many critics cite that frequent therapy can result in periodic clusters of seizures as a side-effect, requiring a "fix" of another dose of shocks every few weeks (raising "thresholds" in that manner also can worsen "kindling" hand-and-hand).

Now that the expenses of epilepsy are greater than the actuarial values of the trust funds and availability of medical resources, the results of epilepsy are being manipulated to be taken as the causes of PNES, and the expensive cases of epilepsy being bureaucratically swept aside.

The major difference between epilepsy and PNES, is that epilepsy has an actual physical existence and PNES is an abstraction that has no actual physical existence. The detection of epilepsy's physical existence is difficult, often very expensive, and frequently a near impossibility; in an attempt to control cost, arbitrary low limits for costs are being placed on the verification of epilepsy, and when those limits are reached, PNES is assumed from the the failure of an economical detection limit and result. To control costs, even use of the full Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) is not cheap enough to provide slightly moderate levels of validity and objectivity before the inexpensive sticky label of PNES is applied. To save every bit of money possible, even a Video-EEG is touted as no longer needed to jump to a PNES conclusion: "How to Use Your Clinical Judgment to Screen for and Diagnose Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures without Video Electroencephalogram" by SHAHID ALI, MD; SHAGUFTA JABEEN, MD; AMIR ARAIN, MD; TAMER WASSEF, MD; AHMED IBRAHIM, MD (Innov Clin Neurosci. 2011;8(1):36–42)
Now if Orange Juice can be sold as a cure for epilepsy, the remaining PNES can be left to be treated by the witch-doctors observed by E. Fuller Torrey in his book "The Mind Game: Witchdoctors and Psychiatrists".