New Publication examines how psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES or NEAD) are represented on the Internet.

Sofia, Bulgaria - May 21, 2014: Social media logos printed onto handmade cubes. Logos include Facebook, instagram, linkedin, blogger. Social media uses web and mobile technology to connect people.

Many health professionals still hold misconceptions regarding PNES itself. Many still believe that the psychogenic episodes are somehow voluntary in nature. Others are uncertain about prognosis and when it comes to treatment many tend to offer a knee-jerk suggestion of CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) without taking into account that a substantial number of mental health professionals may be trained in CBT but may not feel comfortable treating a patient who has seizures (albeit psychological seizures). (One of these days I plan to write a blog about how the recommendation of “you need CBT” has become the “new” brochure/pamphlet that many epilepsy centers used to provide patients before sending them on their merry way-but I digress). So it stands to reason that if the doctors and other health professionals are not really all that familiar with the condition, they are obviously less able to provide patients with useful information. So, it’s not unusual that patients are left feeling confused about their diagnosis and unsure about what to do about it.

Therefore, in the age of the internet, it is not surprising that patients who are having seizures that are taking on average 7.2 years to properly diagnose or who are given the diagnosis in the hospital and little else other than a recommendation to “seek mental health help,” may launch their own online searches when trying to understand their symptoms and find treatment.

Based on this supposition, our group decided it might be interesting to see what can be found online about PNES (NEAD). Our project examined what PNES content could be found through Google® searches (which produced many Facebook® pages), YouTube®, Instagram®, and twitter®. What we found was encouraging in that there are a handful of professional sites exclusively dedicated to PNES (NEAD) and YouTube videos that are doing a very good educational job. In addition, these sites were easily found through our search which suggests people looking for information on PNES (NEAD) will probably find them with relative ease. We also found many websites that are not exclusively about PNES (e.g. from medical centers, Huffington Post) that included one or a few posts or articles about PNES (NEAD). We’re pretty sure these help permeate the internet with information about this condition which raises awareness. And as for patient hosted content on PNES (NEAD), we found numerous exclusive and non-exclusive sites that address PNES (NEAD). One finding that especially stood out is how much more creative and willing to use different hosting options including Instagram®, Facebook®, the Experience Project, etc. were the patients than the professionals. In our conclusions, we encouraged professionals to consider following the patients’ lead and venturing into different mediums that might be useful in reaching the PNES (NEAD) community in the future.

You can find this free article here if you would like to read it:

2 thoughts on “New Publication examines how psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES or NEAD) are represented on the Internet.”

  1. Dennis Kennedy

    My diagnosis by a neurologist who specialized in movement disorders was termed “psychogenic movement disorder.” When “googled”, some information was presented; however, I only stumbled on the term PNES later when Dr. Myers book and the NE Regional Epilepsy Group were listed. I would have been able to connect a few dots faster had the neurologist defined PNES or NES. The medical profession could be adding to patients’ confusion simply by not using common diagnostic terms.

  2. Hi Dr. Myers,

    I’m so grateful for this blog and all the helpful information that you are providing. I haven’t read your book yet, but I’m purchasing it on Amazon. I was wondering if you have recommendations or resources that are available in California. Thank you for your research and advocacy in PNES! I was recently diagnosed and have experienced the walls of lack of understanding, lack of knowledge, lack of treatment options and resources, and a lack of compassion. But I am glad that you have a compassionate community that focuses on education and treatment to minimize and eliminate seizure activity so that people can get their lives back. It’s refreshing. Any help or resources in California would be helpful! Thank you for your time and help!

    Lauren Black

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