Psychological Non Epileptic Seizures
Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group

How important is alexithymia in the treatment of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES)? (Post for clinicians)

Spoiler alert: Important in patients who have PNES and high alexithymia What is alexithymia? Basically, it is, not having words for emotions (a=not having, lexi=word, thymia=emotion) or in other words, having a hard time identifying and describing feelings. In psychology it is associated with two concepts: emotional knowledge (EK) and emotional regulation (ER). EK has to do with: 1) Being able to identify...

Face Masks: to wear or not to wear when you are living with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) during the Covid-19 pandemic

In recent months, I have been asked by a few patients who have been diagnosed with PNES (dissociative seizures) whether it is safe to wear a mask with PNES. On one hand, it is becoming obligatory to wear masks in some states.  We have all seen those signs that say: “If you come into this store, you must wear a mask or you will not be served.” On the other, some patients have mentioned that wearing a mask...

Breaking news: Results of a major Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Study for psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (dissociative seizures) just published

Recently, Goldstein et al published their results from a randomized CBT treatment versus “treatment as usual” (TAU) study in which treatment outcome in patients who had a history of dissociative seizures was compared (Goldstein et al., 2020). The study is the largest and most well-designed study to date. It included an initial 3-month observation period — during which patients were asked to keep a careful log...

Recent article: Conversion disorder and the trouble with trauma

  Kanaan and Craig recently published an article “Conversion disorders and the trouble with trauma” (see reference at the bottom of this page) in which they present the reader with a cogent overview of the current debate of whether conversion disorder should be conceptualized as “psychogenic” or instead “as a yet unexplained neurological disorder.” They argue, quite persuasively that what might seem...

New article on dissociation and depression in children with PNES compared to children with epilepsy

In June, our team (Myers, Trobliger, Bortnik, Zeng, Segal and Lancman) published: “Dissociation and other clinical phenomena in youth with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) compared to youth with epilepsy” in the peer-reviewed journal Seizure: European Journal of Epilepsy. The article had some very interesting findings which I will discuss below. This paper compared 15 youth diagnosed with psychogenic...

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