Disorders That Mimic Seizure Disorders

True seizure disorders must be differentiated from a variety of problems whose symptoms approximate or closely resemble those of epilepsy. These include other conditions include cerebrovascular (stroke-related) disorders, migraine, narcolepsy, syncope (fainting), and anxiety and other psychiatric disorders.

Another type of spell well known to physicians is the so-called pseudoseizure, or more properly nonepileptogenic seizure. These spells are not triggered by nerve cell discharges that cause true epilepsy, although the patient may experience muscle twitching and even apparent loss of consciousness. These spells have a psychiatric component and often coexist in persons who have true epilepsy. EEG monitoring can help distinguish disorders that mimic epilepsy from true seizures.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jan 2000

Last Modified: 14 Sep 2015