Psychological Non Epileptic Seizures
Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group

Current research projects for persons diagnosed with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES), also known as dissociative or functional seizures

One of the ways in which we can help improve the lives of those living with PNES or dissociative seizures is through scientific research.  Fortunately, in the last couple of decades, there has been a proliferation of research studies that have focused on risk, prognostic and outcome factors, diagnostic tools, treatment modalities, among other topics.  Below you can read about two current projects that may...

Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES)/ functional seizure (FS) conference 2021!  It is back on-bigger and better

For six years straight, the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group (NEREG), hosted an annual PNES conference for patients, caregivers, and in the later years, for health professionals too. Our last conference was held on 2019 and then, as we all know, the world ground to a halt due to the 2020 pandemic. Although we did not host our 7th annual PNES conference last year, there have been very positive changes that have...

What if a patient has psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) but does not report any significant psychological trauma?

It is important for mental health professionals to be cognizant of this because these patients exist and are encountered in psychotherapists’ offices with certain regularity. For decades if not centuries (if we look back to Pierre Janet and Sigmund Freud) it has been understood that psychological trauma is an important risk factor in the development of PNES and other conversion disorders.  However, we can really...

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...

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...

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