Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures

Epileptic Disord. 2016 Dec 1;18(4):337-343. doi: 10.1684/epd.2016.0873.


Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) are diagnosed in at least 10-40% of the patients seen for long-term monitoring of epilepsy, and it is no surprise that patients with PNES are often treated for epilepsy. Given the substantial economic costs and mental health burden of misdiagnosis, it is imperative to establish early identification, correct diagnosis, and effective treatment of PNES in order to provide the greatest opportunity for remission of events, improved psychological functioning, and social-vocational outcome. This article outlines an informed, practical approach to diagnosing this common condition and provides a summary of factors, based on medical history and semiology, that may suggest PNES. We discuss also the issues of communicating the diagnosis to the patient and making treatment recommendations which should ideally be coordinated using a multi-disciplinary team approach, involving the disciplines of neurology, psychiatry, psychology, social work, and nursing.

Keywords: diagnosis; epilepsy; non-epileptic seizures; psychiatric; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

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