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Non-epileptic Seizures


A non-epileptic seizure (NES) is a short period of symptoms that change how you move, think, or feel. A NES looks like an epileptic seizure, but there are no electrical changes in the brain. A NES is caused by the body's reaction to severe mental stress. Common triggers are depression, hallucinations, mild head injuries, and sexual or physical abuse. A NES is a serious condition. Early diagnosis and treatment are needed to prevent further problems.


Call 911 for any of the following:

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

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

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

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.

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 healthcare provider visit.

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


  • Anxiety medicine helps keep you calm and relaxed.

  • Antidepressants help decrease the symptoms of depression.

  • 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.

Safety measures after a seizure:

  • Do not drive until your healthcare provider says it is okay.

  • Do not operate heavy equipment or dangerous machines for at least 6 months.

  • Do not swim, scuba dive, or climb for 3 months , or as directed.

  • Help prevent another seizure with healthy habits. Do not drink alcohol. Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and reduce stress. Try to get plenty of sleep.

  • Tell your friends, family members, and coworkers that you have had a seizure. Give them written instructions to follow if you have another seizure.

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.

© 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)