Pseudoseizures, sexual abuse, and hermeneutic reasoning

Compr Psychiatry. Nov-Dec 1994;35(6):471-7. doi: 10.1016/0010-440x(94)90231-3.


It has been proposed that pseudoseizures are a symbolic expression of having been sexually abused. Such reasoning is hermeneutic in nature and potentially damaging if uncritically used. Sexual abuse is one of several risk factors for pseudoseizures, but it should not be deduced simply from the occurrence or form of the conversion disorder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Fantasy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Masturbation / psychology
  • Psychoanalytic Interpretation*
  • Rape / psychology
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / psychology*
  • Sick Role
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*