Psychopathology and trauma in epileptic and psychogenic seizure patients

Psychosomatics. Sep-Oct 1996;37(5):438-43. doi: 10.1016/S0033-3182(96)71531-1.


Forty-one patients admitted to an inpatient epilepsy unit for intractable seizures were evaluated for the presence of Axis I and Axis II diagnoses and for a history of trauma by use of a structured clinical interview. Both the interviewer and the patient were blind to the seizure diagnosis. Following video and electroencephalographic evaluation, 27 patients were diagnosed with epileptic seizures, and 14 had psychogenic seizures. The history of Axis I and Axis II disorders did not distinguish the two groups of patients. A history of trauma was significantly more likely in the patients with psychogenic seizures. The experience of trauma appears to be an important factor in the development of psychogenic seizures. Sexual trauma alone, however, was not significantly associated with psychogenic seizures.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*