Patients suspected of having epilepsy could be experiencing a different condition completely, according to a new study.
A team of physicians and psychologists at Johns Hopkins claim that many people admitted for epilepsy monitoring following a seizure are instead experiencing symptoms triggered by stress.
The condition, known as psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES), is common among war veterans, those locked in legal battles and over-worked professionals.
According to experts, the convulsions experienced by these patients are mimics of epileptic behaviour brought on by tension and will not respond to anti-seizure medication. Close observation will reveal that the brains electrical activity is normal.
PNES was previously called hysteria but now is classified as part of a conversion disorder that causes patients to unconsciously convert emotional problems into physical symptoms.
In the past people that exhibited indicators of hysteria were often sanctioned and placed in a asylum.
According to John Hopkins researchers, those people who are "highly suggestible" are particularly vulnerable to PNES.
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