Can Stress Actually Induce Seizures?

Most of us associate seizures with epilepsy. However, there are a number of other conditions that can trigger seizures, including stress. Studies have shown that it is possible once the stress has been eliminated, there could be a reduction in seizures.

Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures

Seizures that are not caused by epilepsy are called Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES). Researchers have recently discovered that many individuals who experience these types of seizures are struggling with major life events that are highly stressful, such as divorce, loss of employment, financial problems or are war veterans.

Frequently, individuals experiencing a PNES event believe they are suffering from an epileptic seizure. When admitted to the emergency room, medical personnel may assume the same, since this type of seizure appears similar to an organic brain disorder, rather than a psychologically-induced physical reaction to stress.

Researchers suggest that individuals who experience PNES seizures typically have poor coping skills for high amounts of stress. Instead of developing a plan to cope with difficult life events, they attempt to deny the presence of the stressors. Additionally, they appear to be extremely sensitive to stress, adding to potential for PNES episodes.

Coping Strategies

The good news is that with education it is possible to learn coping skills for stress. With cognitive behavioral therapy, it is possible to learn better how to assess stressful events and develop plans for ways to improve stressful situations. Additionally, immediate stress coping skills such as meditation, breathing exercises and learning to see the positive in any situation can help reduce PNES episodes.

If you start to feel overwhelmed by challenging life events, remember that life is always a matter of change and all things pass with time. Sit down and develop a plan of action and if you continue to feel overwhelmed, consider talking with a therapist or counselor to help you improve your coping skills.

– The Alternative Daily

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