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Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2015 Sep;17(9):371. doi: 10.1007/s11940-015-0371-4.

A Therapeutic Approach to Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures.

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Spectrum Health, 25 Michigan St NE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503, USA,


The diagnosis of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) is usually made in the seizure monitoring unit (SMU; also commonly named the epilepsy monitoring unit) after PNES are recorded on video-EEG. The diagnosis should be discussed with the patient thoroughly. The discussion should focus on how the diagnosis was reached and that the diagnosis is real and treatable. When the diagnosis is communicated well, some patients may improve significantly without further interventions. Next, a psychiatric evaluation should be completed, ideally before discharge from the SMU. After discharge, the patient should undergo cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the only treatment for PNES that is supported by high-quality evidence. Other therapies, including psychodynamic therapy and different types of group therapy can be considered in some patients, although high-level evidence to support their use is lacking. Some patients may benefit from selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), especially when psychiatric comorbidities are present. This should be considered on a case-by-case basis.


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