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Non-epileptic Seizures


Non-epileptic seizure (NES) is a short period of symptoms that change how you move, think, or feel. NES looks like an epileptic seizure, but there are no electrical changes in the brain. NES is a serious condition. Early diagnosis and treatment are needed to prevent further problems.



  • Antidepressants: These medicines are mainly given to decrease the symptoms of depression.

  • Antianxiety medicine: This medicine may be given to decrease anxiety and help you feel calm and relaxed.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Your healthcare provider may refer you to a therapist or psychologist. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevent a non-epileptic seizure:

  • Avoid hyperventilating: Hyperventilation is fast, shallow breathing that can cause your hands or lips to become numb or tingle. Your fingers or toes may have cramping or even curl up. Focus on taking very slow, deep breaths when you feel like you are hyperventilating. Your healthcare provider may show you how to breathe in and out of a paper bag when you hyperventilate. Never use a plastic bag.

  • Limit alcohol: If you drink alcohol, ask your healthcare provider if you should limit the amount you drink.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You are depressed and feel you cannot cope with your illness.

  • You are confused or cannot think clearly.

  • You have new symptoms that you did not have at your last follow-up visit.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You feel like fainting or are lightheaded or too dizzy to stand up.

  • You were injured during or after a seizure.

  • You think about hurting or killing yourself or someone else.

  • You have chest pain, tightness, or pressure that may spread to your shoulders, arms, jaw, neck, or back.

  • You had a seizure that continued for more than 5 minutes.

  • You are having breathing problems and your lips, fingernails, or face turn blue.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Non-epileptic Seizures (Aftercare Instructions)