Regular Article| Volume 10, ISSUE 8, P566-569, December 2001

Patients with coexistent psychogenic pseudoepileptic and epileptic seizures: a psychological profile

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      Despite significant advances in epileptology, the differential diagnosis of epileptic and pseudoepileptic seizures continues to be a considerable challenge. The problem becomes even more complicated when epileptic and psychogenic pseudoepileptic seizures coexist in the same patient . Appropriate psychological measures may be helpful in the diagnosis and may improve knowledge about aetiological factors which can provoke psychogenic pseudoepileptic seizures. The purpose of this paper is to present the psychological profile of patients with mixed seizures (epileptic and psychogenic pseudoepileptic) developed on the basis of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and to discuss the personality differences between patients with psychogenic epileptic seizures and epileptic patients. In patients with diagnosed epilepsy and/or suspected psychogenic pseudoepileptic seizures long-term video-monitoring was performed. On the basis of the gathered data the patients were divided into three groups: group I (N= 32 : 25 F and 7 M) had coexistent psychogenic pseudoepileptic and epileptic seizures, group II (N= 38 : 30 F and 8 M) had psychogenic pseudoepileptic seizures only and group III (N= 36 : 18 F and 8 M) had epileptic seizures only and was treated as the control group. All three groups were given the MMPI. Comparison of the averaged personality profiles of the three groups revealed significant differences (P< 0.0001) in hypochondriasis (Hs) and hysteria (Hy), similarity of the profiles of groups I and II, and significantly higher Hs and Hy scores than D (Depression) scores (P< 0.001). Unlike groups I and II, group III (the epileptic group) had significantly higher D scores than Hs and Hy scores (P< 0.01). Our findings suggest that conversion, manifested in the typically elevated Hs and Hy scores as compared to D scores, is present in both groups of patients demonstrating pseudoepileptic seizures but absent in the patients with epilepsy where the Hs and Hy to D ratio is reversed. Patients with mixed seizures and patients with psychogenic pseudoepileptic seizures only have similarly shaped profiles.




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