Epilepsy Information : Can epileptic seizures have a psychiatric dimension?

Published: May, 2006

There was a time when epilepsy was not clearly distinguished from psychiatric disorders. Researchers eventually clarified the origins of epilepsy in the brain. Still, epileptic seizures are a brain malfunction, and so are major depression, anxiety disorders, and psychoses. While epilepsy is no longer considered a psychiatric disorder, its psychiatric dimension is important for treatment and research, reports the May issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

The symptoms of simple epileptic seizures can be mistaken for psychiatric symptoms such as panic attacks or flashbacks. Psychiatric symptoms may also resemble epilepsy. An examination to determine whether there is epileptic brain activity is the best method for making the correct diagnosis.

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