What is A Non Epileptic Event ?

There are many types of seizures that exist, but unless you are aware of what seizures look like, most individuals don’t know when a seizure is occurring. Most of the time the only type of seizure that people notice are grand mal seizures where the individual falls to the ground and can not move, but many other partial type seizures the individual may just look like they’re drunk by not walking straight. There are also many triggers to seizures, with stress being one of these. This includes things like depression, anxiety, and other mental or psychological stresses. Although these triggers can cause an actual seizure, many times these triggers cause what is called a non epileptic event, formerly known as a non epileptic seizure. So what is a Non epileptic event ?



Seizures vs a Non epileptic event

A epileptic seizure is a simple mis firing of the neurotransmitters within the brain where the frequency is increased and there is no syncrization between them. This could be compared to a scrambled egg, vs normal activity being similar to a boiled egg where it remains whole. In comparison to epileptic seizures, what is known as a non epileptic event looks similar to an epileptic seizure concerning the signs and what occurs. Unlike an epileptic seizure, brain waves remain normal but the individual can still be unconscious.

In studies, it has been shown that as many as 50 % of epilepsy diagnosis may not have epilepsy at all but non epileptic events occurring. This is unfortunate since it could take quite some time to make a correct diagnosis, wasting money on medications that have no effect treating the condition.

One difference between seizure types that may help someone know what’s happening is that in an epileptic seizure, the individuals eyes remain open, rolling up and back toward the head, while during a NEE, the eyes are closed.

Another way to possibly determine if a NEE is occurring is to see if the individual has been disciplined and maintained a somewhat constant schedule concerning sleep patterns, time medication is taken, as well as activity and eating habits. These are factors that if not kept could cause an epileptic seizure to occur, so if these habits have been followed, but seizures have still been occurring, it may be a NEE taking place. Also, if a patient has had medications increased in the past, but no improvement has occurred this may be a sign of a non epileptic event occurring. Although an epileptic seizure has a chemical imbalance while a NEE doe not, there may still be similar stresses or triggers for either to occur.



There are numerous triggers for both epileptic seizures and non epileptic events. One thing which most people are unaware of is that stress is a trigger for both. This includes things such as anxiety of depression, as well as a general mental stress where you may not be able to clear your head. In order to do this, you must know how to deal with any feelings of emotional or mental stress that may occur. This can be done through first finding out what the stresses may be through filling out a questionnaire or just thinking about any possible trauma or events you’ve faces which may have caused any anxiety or depression. You should write down any thoughts of possible triggers you think you may have in order to deal with them.

Not only can major events have an effect on the occurrence of seizures or non epileptic events, but the build up of small every day stresses can also be a trigger. This may cause a decrease in mood or an increase in negative attitude, increasing ones overall mental stress.

If a mental or emotional stressor is thought to be a trigger for a seizure or NEE, this can be unfortunate since it could become a continuous cycle. This may be where stresses can trigger a seizure to occur, but the individual could also allow the seizure itself to cause an emotional stress that more seizures could occur. This would cause a continuous cycle, so in order to break the cycle, the triggers must first be identified, and steps taken to eliminate these stresses. This will help in decreasing or eliminate the frequency of seizures which occur due to these triggers. If in fact the stressors are the main cause for either epileptic seizures or Non epileptic events, they may be totally eliminated.


Individual differences

Another thing which has been looked at is the specific stresses and amount of stress that an individual receives. Some studies have shown groups facing similar amounts of stress through things such as: financial difficulties, legal issues, work, or relationship issues deal with these differently, leading to different results concerning seizures or NEE’s occurring.

In one study it was interesting to find that many individuals had seizures of NEE’s occur while others did not, and it was concluded that this had to do more with how the individual dealt with the stresses that were faced.

The coping strategies are unique to each individual. Many times the individual that still has a seizure of NEE may either not use a coping mechanism at all, or they may not identify the trigger correctly, making it harder to deal with.

Although the majority of individuals probably let events effect them negatively, some individuals may see it as an opportunity to make a positive change.  You may also be accepting of a stressor occurring, but be much more sensitive to the situation, allowing it to have more control over your thoughts or feelings. While either of these would be accepting a stressor, some may deny that an event even occurred, placing the stressor more into their subconsciousness. This is what could start a condition such as depression or anxiety, making it challenging to bring any thoughts or feelings to the surface in order to be released. Having the attitude of acceptance though would probably decrease if not eliminate any negative effects of stresses that one may face.



There are numerous forms of treatment that can be used for anyone that thinks they may be having a seizure or Non epileptic event occur due to stress. Many options available for therapy are forms of self treatment. This includes things such as:



  • Keeping a diary of thoughts and feelings
  • Avoiding specific situations which may trigger thoughts or memories
  • Releasing any thoughts of feelings through self talk or prayer
  • Socializing
  • Exercise and regular activity such as yoga or meditation
  • Setting goals to achieve

Other things that can be used include: following a healthy eating plan, relaxation, counseling, or volunteering may be activities which will decrease stresses felt, allowing you to decrease the chance of having an event occur.




Can Marijuana help ?

The use of marijuana for assistance in decreasing if not eliminating seizures has been promising, but more research must be done to know exactly how it works. Thinking of things logically and not scientifically, it makes sense that some strains may assist with either epileptic seizures or non epileptic events which are thought to be triggered by stress. This is because most if not all strains of marijuana have the effect of relaxation, both mental and physical. Many times, the effects seem to take you away from yourself and into a different reality, putting many users to sleep and having what is known as a “couch lock” effect. This extreme sense of relaxation will allow you to forget about any concerns or worries that you may have, which in turn could decrease or eliminate seizure or NEE from occurring. Using other forms of treatment like those previously mentioned such as counseling, keeping a diary, daily activity, and getting enough sleep along with marijuana may help decrease if not eliminate the frequency of seizures or NEE’s occurring due to stress.



Although not considered much, mental or psychological stress can be triggers for either epileptic seizures or what is known as a non epileptic event. If you think that stress may play a factor, being able to identify any specific stressor and the type of coping mechanism you use may be the first step in helping eliminate these from occurring. Perception of an event or situation is key in how stresses effect you, and if a stressor does effect you negatively through causing stresses such as depression, anxiety, or general mental stress, different treatments are available. The individual is able to apply the majority of these treatments, not requiring any medical treatment. Not only can these therapies help due to assisting with relaxation, but the use of marijuana also has a major effect of relaxation as well, making it a good to add to anything already being used. If you think that any type of stress may be a trigger to seizures or non epileptic events you may be having, using the therapies mentioned, along with marijuana could help decrease if not eliminate these from occurring.

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