Personality and Psychopathology in Nonepileptic Attack Disorder and Epilepsy: A Prospective Study

Epilepsy Behav. 2001 Oct;2(5):418-422. doi: 10.1006/ebeh.2001.0233.


To study the nature of personality and psychopathology in nonepileptic attack disorder (NEAD) and epilepsy, we prospectively assessed 45 consecutive attendees to a specialist assessment unit for epilepsy. Patients with NEAD were more likely to report clinically significant symptoms of anxiety, worry, disordered eating, and somatoform disorder. An ICD-10 diagnosis of anxiety or phobic disorder was significantly more common in NEAD patients. Together DSM-IV personality Clusters A and C were more common in epilepsy than NEAD. Hierarchical logistic regression with diagnosis as the target variable found anxiety, eating, and worry but not somatoform symptoms were reliably associated with NEAD. Together the Present State Examination (PSE) eating, PSE worrying/tension, PSE expansive mood, past psychiatric history, and gender variables allowed for correct classification of more than 88% of all cases. Personality and psychopathology variables seem to be valid clinical predictors of epilepsy and NEAD, and should be examined in epidemiological studies.