Psychological Non Epileptic Seizures
Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group

Book recommendation: Guises of Desire is the beautifully told story of one of the best known patients with a psychogenic and dissociative disorder

The time and place: Vienna, Austria in the 1800’s.  The main character of the story is real: Bertha Pappenheim (AKA Anna O). In Guises of Desire, the author, Hilda Reilly, recounts Bertha’s intense years living with these psychogenic symptoms using a wonderful combination of solid research and imagination.  Ms. Reilly descriptions of Bertha’s variety of psychogenic symptoms including a persistent cough,...

Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures: Love and Light

  My name is JJ and I am 22. My seizures have been a sporadic problem since I was 13. They really became a problem December 2013. I had quit drinking in September, I later discovered my alcoholism was suppressing my seizures. My seizures became unbearable, I was unable to do the things I used to, I began seeking and searching for answers. Every time I would go to the hospital they would tell me I was “faking...

Psychogenic non epileptic seizures: why is your memory so bad if this is all psychological?

An almost universal cognitive complaint in persons with PNES is that their memory is bad and it is not unusual after going through neuropsychological testing of memory (verbal, visual, etc.), that these complaints are officially confirmed.  Although we are not sure, these memory problems are probably due to more than one reason.    The most obvious answer is that if you are clinically depressed or anxious (which...

Mindfulness and psychogenic non epileptic seizures

I was reading a few books by Dr. Kabat-Zinn, Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  He reports how useful mindfulness is when working with medically ill patients who are in excrutiating pain. I was intrigued by the concept of mindfulness and surprised by the similarities between it and the Western treatment approach I use with psychogenic non epileptic...

Now that you’ve been told you have PNES—What’s the next step?

Did you feel shocked and confused the day your doctor gave you the diagnosis of psychogenic non epileptic seizures?  Who wouldn’t?  How many months or years went by while you carried a diagnosis that wasn’t really yours?  But for many, the last straw isn’t this, but rather that you were informed that you did not have a “medical problem” and were told to seek out psychiatric and/or psychological...

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