Nonepileptic seizures - objective phenomena

Handb Clin Neurol. 2016;139:297-304. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-801772-2.00026-6.


This chapter describes the evaluation process for the diagnosis of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), which is determined based on concordance of the composite evidence available, including historic and physical exam findings, seizure semiology, and ictal/interictal electroencephalogram (EEG). No single clinical feature is pathognomonic of PNES. The diagnosis of PNES can be at times challenging, such as when seizure documentation on video-EEG cannot be readily achieved. A multicomponent approach to the diagnosis of PNES, with use of all available evidence, may facilitate diagnosis and then care of patients with PNES. Emerging evidence supports the use of symptom identification by the patient as part of the treatment of these patients. With advances in diagnostic methods and criteria, the diagnosis of PNES can be made reliably.

Keywords: classification; comorbidity; differential diagnosis; epilepsy; functional; nonepileptic; personality; psychogenic; semiology; video-EEG.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Seizures / diagnosis*
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis*