Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures: A current overview

Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada Department of Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Epilepsia (Impact Factor: 4.58). 08/2012; 53(10):1679-89. DOI: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2012.03606.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) resemble epilepsy, but no pathophysiological explanation has been established. Although there have been recent advances in PNES research and various hypotheses as to the psychopathology, no theory has achieved general acceptance. In this overview of selected literature on PNES, we highlight the often contradictory findings that underline the challenges that confront both practitioner and researcher. We first provide a synopsis of the history, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes, as well as patient characteristics of PNES and the relevance of communication in the clinical context. In the subsequent sections we discuss recent research that may advance the understanding and diagnosis of this disorder. These themes include the use of qualitative methods as a viable research option, the application of nonlinear methods to analyze heterogeneous observations during diagnosis, recent advances in neuroimaging of PNES, and the development of international databases.

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    ABSTRACT: Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) often mimic epileptic seizures and occur in both people with and without epilepsy. Pathophysiology of conversion disorders such as PNES remains unclear though significant psychological, psychiatric and environmental factors have been correlated with a diagnosis of PNES. Many clinical signs that have been considered typical for PNES can also be found in frontal epileptic seizures. Given the resemblance of seizures and affective changes from Orbitofrontal cortical dysfunction to PNES like events and correlation of psychological and environmental stress to conversion disorders such as PNES, we propose a two-factor model for the pathogenesis of PNES. We hypothesize that patients with PNES could have a higher likelihood of having both Orbitofrontal cortical dysfunction and a history of psychological stressors rather than a higher likelihood of having either one or the other. We further explore the implications of this two-factor model, including possible therapies. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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    ABSTRACT: To date, only a very narrow window of ethical dilemmas in psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) has been explored. Numerous distinct ethical dilemmas arise in diagnosing and treating pediatric and adolescent patients with PNESs. Important ethical values at stake include trust, transparency, confidentiality, professionalism, autonomy of all stakeholders, and justice. In order to further elucidate the ethical challenges in caring for this population, an ethical analysis of the special challenges faced in four specific domains is undertaken: (1) conducting and communicating a diagnosis of PNESs, (2) advising patients about full transparency and disclosure to community including patients' peers, (3) responding to requests to continue antiepileptic drugs, and (4) managing challenges arising from school policy and procedure. An analysis of these ethical issues is essential for the advancement of best care practices that promote the overall well-being of patients and their families.
    Epilepsy & Behavior 08/2014; 37:145–150. DOI:10.1016/j.yebeh.2014.06.019 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nonepileptic attack disorder (NEAD) is a highly distressing and costly condition commonly seen in specialist epilepsy clinics. Consistently effective treatments for NEAD remain elusive, and findings from research indicate that there is no one form of psychological therapy that will be effective in such a heterogeneous group of patients. In this paper, we propose a multimodular approach to psychological therapy in NEAD, which allows the clinician to tailor an individualized management program for the patient appropriate to his/her needs.
    Epilepsy & Behavior 10/2014; 41:144–148. DOI:10.1016/j.yebeh.2014.09.041 · 2.06 Impact Factor


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