Pseudo seizures resemble epileptic seizures
but which are in reality psychogenically induced.
Seizures are normally caused by electrical
abnormalities in the brain or have abnormal EEG
readings. Pseudo seizures lack the
electroencephalographic characteristics of an
epileptic seizure. Pseudo seizures may be a way of
coping with stress, or it may be subconscious.
Pseudo seizures often occur in persons who also have
epileptic seizures and may be difficult to differentiate
from these two seizures. King, DW 1982 states that
because "data suggest that pseudo seizures occur
frequently in patients being evaluated for epilepsy or
suspected epilepsy and that the clinical differentiation
between the two is often inaccurate."
Trimble suggests that the nature of these episodes are
perhaps when, "Patients feel badly, guilty, distressed
or resentful that their condition is perceived in a
pseudo-artificially - sense and that they are being
actively accused of causing it."
My girlfriend had an episode on December 21, 2004 which the doctor declared was a
“pseudoseizure.” That night, explained in great detail in
the prior link, she may have felt extremely guilty for
what occurred between her and me. She had some serious
trauma in her past because she was molested. Thus I may
have brought it out when we were together. I thought she
was going in and out of consciousness and she ended up
leaving in an ambulance after I called 911.
Slavney emphasizes that those undergoing a pseudo
seizure did not consciously motivate themselves to the
state, but that they are doing it to themselves.
Although I did not find any research on physical
symptoms, my girlfriend on that
night had the following: To my
- Twenty second intervals of sharp pains. She squeezed
my hand every twenty seconds (precisely) during the
first ten or so minutes of when I personally declared
her attack began. Symptom stopped after these ten
minutes, though I was driving and they may have gone
- Five second intervals of her right hand and some of
her right half of her body twitching in convulsions.
This started occurring after I got her inside the home of
my ex-girlfriend's. This still occurred when the
paramedics showed up, and I am unsure when that stopped.
- Unresponsiveness, mumbling, and a relaxed body
state. Scientifically speaking: Paralysis and
- It did look like she was going in and out of
consciousness, but from what I have learned she was
probably awake during all of it. Though her memory of
the situation is great in detail.
Merskey suggested a positive correlation to those
who had pseudo seizures and multiple personality disorders.
Research suggests that pseudo seizures are sudden and
have onsets over seconds and usually last short times.
Though they can occasionally last hours (as in the case
with my girlfriend
Emedicine gives "Classic Clues" to define a pseudo
seizure or nonepileptic seizure: I have bolded the symptoms that my girlfriend had.
- Induced by stress
- Lack of physical injury
- Lack of headache or myalgias following convulsions
- Lack of incontinence
- Biting the tip of the tongue as opposed to the side or
- History of sexual or physical abuse
- Signs or symptoms suggestive of another conversion
Clinical Symptoms or signs:
- Gradual onset of ictus
- Prolonged duration (>4 min)
- Atypical or excessive motor activity such as thrashing,
rolling from one side to the other, pelvic thrusting, or
arrhythmic (out-of-phase) jerking
- Waxing and waning amplitude
- Intelligible speech Mumbling meaningful words I could understand.
- Bilateral motor activity with preserved
consciousness She had only convulsions
on the right half of her body.
- Clinical features that change from one spell to the next
- Lack of postictal confusion
- Postictal crying or cursing
- Directed violent acts
- Resistance to eye opening
- Purposeful resistance to passive
- Spontaneous remissions.
Further related diagnosises:
Atypical Psychosis, episodic dyscontrol, post
traumatic temporal lobe dysfunction or multiple partial
seizure like symptoms without stereotype spells.