Table 2

Clinical distinction of dissociative non-epileptic seizures (“pseudoseizures”) from epileptic seizures

Dissociative non-epileptic seizures (“pseudoseizures”) Epileptic seizures
Induced by anger, panic, suggestionCommonRare
OnsetOften gradualUsually sudden
DurationOften prolonged, occasionally hours1–3 minutes
Breathing and colourBreathing continues, stays pinkUsually apnoeic and cyanosed
Retained consciousnessCommonUncommon
Pelvic thrusting, back arching, erratic movementsCommonRare
Fighting, held down, may injure othersCommonRare
Eyes closedCommonLess common
Resisting eye opening and eye contactCommonRare
Occur only in companyCommonRare
Lateral tongue biteRare (minor)Common
Self injuryRareCommon (occasionally serious)
IncontinenceRare (occasionally with experience)Common
Post-ictal confusionRareCommon