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Are psychogenic non-epileptic seizures just another symptom of conversion disorder?


Background Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) are classified with other functional neurological symptoms as ‘Conversion Disorder’, but there are reasons to wonder whether this symptomatology constitutes a distinct entity.

Methods We reviewed the literature comparing PNES with other functional neurological symptoms.

Results We find eight studies that directly examined this question. Though all but one found significant differences—notably in presenting age, trauma history, and dissociation—they were divided on whether these differences represented an important distinction.

Conclusion We argue that the aetiological and mechanistic distinctions they support, particularly when bolstered by additional data, give reason to sustain a separation between these conditions.

  • functional neurological disorder
  • aetiology
  • mechanism
  • nosology
  • psychogenic movement disorder

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