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Dissociative (non-epileptic) seizures: tackling common challenges after the diagnosis
  1. Markus Reuber
  1. Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Academic Neurology Unit, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Markus Reuber, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Academic Neurology Unit, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2JF, UK; m.reuber{at}


Dissociative (non-epileptic) seizures are one of the three major causes of transient loss of consciousness. As such, their treatment cannot be left to superspecialised experts. In this article I draw on personal experience to suggest ways to tackle some challenges that commonly arise after diagnosing dissociative seizures, focusing on three issues: “I want to know what is wrong with me,” “I hear what you are saying but it doesn’t apply to me” and “What if I have a seizure?” The suggestions detail both actions and words that may help at a crucial point in the patient’s journey. If handled well, the process can leave the patient better equipped to understand their seizures and to engage in further treatment; if handled badly, patients may be left more traumatised, angry and with additional disability.

  • dissociative seizures
  • nonepileptic seizures
  • communication
  • treatment

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  • Contributors Conceived, written and completed by the author without substantial contributions from any others.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned. Externally peer reviewed by Jon Stone, Edinburgh, UK.

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  • Editors’ commentary
    Phil E M Smith Geraint N Fuller

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