Aim: To study the clinical characteristics in patients with conversion non-epileptic seizures, and the influence that traumatic childhood experiences could have in their psychopathologic status and personality.
Methods: Seventeen patients with non-epileptic seizures confirmed through video-EEG were included. A structured clinical interview (SCID-DSM-III-R), a measure of personality variables (MMPI), and an interview designed for collecting data on personal history of childhood traumas were administered. Descriptive and comparative statistical methods were used.
Results: More than 70% of the sample fulfilled the criteria for two or more simultaneous diagnoses in Axis I, and for at least one personality disorder. The subgroup experiencing childhood traumatic experiences showed more clinically significant MMPI scales, a younger age at correct diagnosis, and higher scores on the MMPI psychastenia and psychopathic deviation scales than the non experiencing childhood traumatics events.
Conclusions: Our sample of patients with conversion non-epileptic seizures shows a significant level of psychopathology, and the absence of a unique character substrate. Under the generic term of pseudoseizures, a number of subgroups according to childhood traumatic experiences, with different levels of severity and different clinical and personality properties, may be defined.