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Symptoms That Mimic Epilepsy Linked to Stress, Poor Coping Skills

(Science Daily)  Based on their clinical experience and observations, a team of Johns Hopkins physicians and psychologists say that more than one-third of the patients admitted to The Johns Hopkins Hospital's inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit for treatment of intractable seizures have been discovered to have stress-triggered symptoms rather than a true seizure disorder.
These patients -- returning war veterans, mothers in child-custody battles and over-extended professionals alike -- have what doctors are calling psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES). Their display of uncontrollable movements, far-off stares or convulsions, Johns Hopkins researchers say, are not the result of the abnormal electrical discharges in the brain that characterize epilepsy, but instead appear to be stress-related behaviors that mimic and are misdiagnosed as the neurological disorder…
In the past, behaviors like PNES were called "hysteria." Now they are often considered by psychiatrists as part of a "conversion" disorder, in which the patient unconsciously converts emotional dysfunction into physical symptoms…
People with PNES can spend years in treatment for epilepsy, say [the researchers], who also report that neurologists may be misdiagnosing PNES patients by misreading their EEGs.
Community: There are a number of ways to reduce stress.
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