Seizure behaviour in a patient with post-traumatic stress disorder following rape. Notes on the aetiology of 'pseudoseizures'

Seizure. 1992 Mar;1(1):33-6. doi: 10.1016/1059-1311(92)90052-3.


A patient is described who began to have paroxysmal convulsive behaviour, followed by a post-ictal aggression, which was initially diagnosed and treated as epilepsy. The behaviour began after the patient was raped. She had many of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. It is suggested that the paroxysmal behaviour was an 'acting out' of intrusive and vivid memories of the rape, so called 'flashbacks'. Because the rape had occurred comparatively recently and the events that occurred during the rape were known, it was easy, in this particular patient, to understand the relationship between the previous trauma and the paroxysmal behaviour. The case throws some light on the relationship between similar paroxysmal behaviour in the victims of child sexual abuse and the trauma they had suffered and explains why they behave in the way that they do.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acting Out
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / complications
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / etiology*
  • Epilepsy / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Psychotherapy
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / complications*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy