Pseudoseizure Vs Seizure: Know the Diifferences

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Pseudoseizure Vs Seizure: A seizure is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, results in shaking, loss of consciousness, or other symptoms. Pseudoseizures mimic these symptoms but don't involve abnormal brain activity and are linked to psychological factors. While both can be scary, treatment differs; seizures need medication, while pseudoseizures often benefit from therapy. Remember, both are real and deserve proper diagnosis and support.


  • Pseudoseizures don't involve electrical disruptions in the brain.
  • Can manifest with similar movements, crying, or loss of consciousness, making diagnosis tricky.
  • Often linked to underlying emotional or mental health issues.
  • Addressing the underlying psychological causes is key to managing pseudoseizures.


  • Brain electrical activity bursts during a seizure interfere with regular brain function.
  • can be caused by conditions including epilepsy, trauma, or disease, and can vary in severity from slight absences to severe convulsions.
  • According to the type and severity, the diagnosis often entails EEG and other tests, which are then followed by medication or surgery.
  • Seizures can affect many facets of life in the long run, depending on their kind and intensity.

Difference Between Pseudoseizure and Seizure

Seizures and pseudoseizures are both conditions that involve abnormal, uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, but they have distinct differences. Listed below are the differences between seizures and pseudoseizures.




Nature of Activity

Involves abnormal electrical brain activity

Involves psychological factors, normal brain activity

Epilepsy vs. Non-epileptic

Often associated with epilepsy

Not associated with epilepsy, psychological/psychiatric

EEG Results

Abnormal EEG patterns

EEG patterns appear normal during the event

Physical Movements

Involuntary movements, convulsions

May involve purposeful or semi-purposeful movements


Usually short-lived (seconds to minutes)

May have a more prolonged duration

Response to Medication

Responds to antiepileptic medications

Typically does not respond to antiepileptic medications

Provoking Factors

Triggers include flashing lights, lack of sleep, stress

Often associated with psychological stressors or trauma

Postictal State

Followed by confusion, fatigue, sometimes amnesia

Less likely to have a postictal state, or it may not resemble typical postictal state

Medical vs. Psychiatric Evaluation

Requires medical evaluation, often neurology specialists

Requires psychiatric evaluation, involving mental health professionals

Risk of Physical Injury

Risk of physical injury during convulsions

Typically lower risk of physical injury due to absence of convulsive movements

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What is Pseudoseizure?

a seizure-like incident that isn't brought on by unusual brain activity. It is frequently associated with psychological anguish and exhibits certain physical symptoms similar to seizures, however it does not have certain characteristics such as tongue biting or incontinence. Excluding epilepsy with tests such as an EEG and examining emotional and mental health issues are standard diagnostic procedures. Correct diagnosis and treatment are necessary for both in order to address the underlying problem.

Key Features of Pseudoseizure:

  • A pseudoseizure is an episode that resembles a seizure but is not caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Instead, it is thought to be a manifestation of psychological distress.
  • Causes: The exact cause of pseudoseizures is unknown, but they are thought to be related to stress, anxiety, trauma, and other mental health conditions.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of a pseudoseizure can vary from person to person, but they may include:
    • Jerking movements of the body
    • Loss of consciousness (although this is less common than in seizures)
    • Sensory changes
    • Emotional outbursts
  • Treatment: The treatment for pseudoseizures typically involves a combination of therapy and medication. Therapy can help to identify and address the underlying psychological issues that may be contributing to the pseudoseizures. Medication may also be helpful in managing symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

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What is Seizure?

A brief episode of abnormal brain activity that modifies awareness, sensations, movement, behavior, or any combination of these. may cause convulsions, loss of consciousness, twitching of the muscles, and other symptoms based on the kind. An EEG is frequently used for diagnosis in order to pinpoint the precise nature and source of the aberrant activity.

Key Features of Seizure?

  •  A seizure is a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain that disrupts the normal functioning of the nervous system. This can cause changes in behavior, movement, sensations, and awareness.
  • Causes: Seizures can be caused by a variety of factors, including epilepsy, brain tumors, stroke, head injury, infection, and metabolic disorders.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of a seizure can vary depending on the part of the brain that is affected. However, some common symptoms include:
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Jerking movements of the body
    • Confusion
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Sensory changes, such as seeing flashing lights or hearing strange sounds
  • Treatment: The treatment for seizures depends on the underlying cause. For epilepsy, medication is usually the first line of treatment. Other treatments may include surgery, dietary changes, and vagus nerve stimulation.

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Similarities Between Pseudoseizure and Seizure

  • Auras: Both seizures and pseudoseizures may be preceded by auras or warning signs, though the nature of these auras can differ.
  • Loss of Awareness: Both conditions can involve a loss of awareness or altered consciousness during the event, though the degree and nature of the alteration may vary.
  • Psychosocial Impact: Both seizures and pseudoseizures can have a significant impact on an individual's psychosocial well-being.
  • Overlap of Symptoms: Some symptoms, such as staring spells or unresponsiveness, can be present in both conditions, making accurate diagnosis challenging without proper evaluation.

Despite having similar outward appearances, pseudoseizures and seizures have quite different underlying causes and approaches to therapy. Brainwave recordings from an EEG can confirm that a seizure is occurring because of aberrant electrical activity in the brain, which is frequently caused by epilepsy. Although they mimic seizures in appearance, pseudo seizures are not characterized by aberrant electrical activity; rather, they are associated with underlying psychological anguish. It's important to distinguish between the two because whereas pseudo seizures benefit from psychotherapy and resolving underlying emotional difficulties, seizures necessitate medicine. Recall that both are genuine experiences in need of an appropriate diagnosis and course of care.

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What is the primary difference between a pseudoseizure and a seizure?

A pseudoseizure is a non-epileptic event that mimics the symptoms of a seizure but is not caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. In contrast, a seizure is the result of abnormal electrical discharges in the brain.

How do the symptoms of pseudoseizures compare to those of seizures?

Pseudoseizures often exhibit seizure-like symptoms such as convulsions, shaking, and loss of consciousness. However, unlike seizures, pseudoseizures are not associated with abnormal brain activity and may be triggered by psychological factors.

What are the common features shared by pseudoseizures and seizures?

Both pseudoseizures and seizures may involve loss of awareness, altered consciousness, and physical symptoms such as convulsions. This similarity in outward manifestation can make it challenging to distinguish between the two based solely on observed symptoms.

Can EEG (Electroencephalogram) help differentiate between pseudoseizures and seizures?

Yes, EEG is a crucial diagnostic tool. Seizures typically show abnormal electrical patterns, while pseudoseizures do not. An EEG can provide valuable information to help distinguish between the two conditions.

Are there specific triggers for pseudoseizures and seizures?

Seizures are often triggered by factors like epilepsy, head injuries, or neurological disorders. Pseudoseizures, on the other hand, are usually triggered by emotional or psychological stressors, trauma, or mental health conditions.