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Psychogenic Seizure Patients May Have A Harder Time Handling Stress


A research team based at Johns Hopkins University has discovered that some patients of psychogenic seizures have a harder time coping with stressful life situations than patients who suffer from epileptic seizures. In a press release from the Johns Hopkins Medicine on Tuesday, they said 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.

For the study, the researcher made a close review of seizure patients admitted at Johns Hopkins Medical Center and found that 33 percent of those admitted for epilepsy were actually suffering from psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES). They went further to compare the symptoms of 40 PNES patients with 20 epilepsy patients and 20 healthy subjects.

"Contrary to our prediction, our patients with PNES did not experience more frequent recent or remote, positive or negative stressful life events than patients with epilepsy or healthy patients. In addition, the stressors they experienced are not objectively more severe. However, they subjectively experienced greater distress caused by these events." the researchers explained.

"Our PNES patients experienced greater distress related to work and social functioning, health status, and legal system involvement ... While coping in PNES is characterized by diminished active coping and planning, we also found that higher levels of negative life-event distress, especially in PNES, are associated with increased levels of denial, mental disengagement, focus on and venting of emotions, and diminished positive growth," they added.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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