Children with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNEA)
Sometimes children have seizures that strongly resemble epileptic seizures, but they are not. Such seizures do not show electric discharges in the brain, nor other malfunctions in the body, like those in fainting or associated with arrythmia. Yet these seizures may look exactly like epileptic seizures. In most cases the cause is emotional and/or psychosocial. Which factors play a role, varies from case to case.
In many cases the child is unaware of those factors and/or the influence they have. For a doctor it may also be hard to distinguish the so-called psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNEA) from epileptic seizures. It becomes extra complicated when the child suffers from both epileptic and psychogenic non-epileptic seizures.
In Kempenhaeghe a specialized team will see children and adults with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. This teams helps to diagnose the problem and discusses the options for (follow-up) treatment. Preferably, the treatment takes place in the child’s own living environment.
Sometimes the child – and its parents – find it hard to accept that the seizures are not related to a physical disability. It is not easy to explain the diagnosis PNEA to others, for instance within the family or at school. The PNEA-team offers advice and will explain how to deal with the seizures.