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Adults with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNEA)

Patients can suffer from seizures that strongly resemble epileptic seizures, but they are not. Such seizures do not show electrical discharges in the brain, nor other malfunctions in the body, such as fainting or arrythmia. Yet these seizures look exactly like epileptic seizures. In most cases they will be caused by an emotional and/or psychosocial problem. Which factors play a role, varies largely. Often, multiple causes are involved.

In many cases someone is unaware of those factors and/or their influence. For a doctor it can also be hard to distinguish these so-called psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNEA) from epileptic seizures. It becomes extra complicated when a patient has both epileptic and psychogenic non-epileptic seizures.

In Kempenhaeghe a specialized team is available to screen adults and children with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. This teams helps with a thorough diagnosis and discusses the options for (follow-up) treatment. Preferably this treatment takes place in the patient’s own living environment.

Sometimes it is hard for the patient to accept the fact that seizures are not directly related to a physical disorder, nor is it easy to explain the diagnosis PNEA to others, for instance to family members or colleagues. The PNEA-team offers advice, also on how to deal with the seizures.