Can Anxiety Cause Seizures?


Anxiety itself typically does not cause seizures. Seizures are abnormal electrical discharges in the brain that result in temporary changes in behavior, consciousness, or bodily movements.

However, anxiety disorders and seizures can sometimes coexist in the same individual, and there can be complex interactions between the two conditions. In some cases, seizures may be triggered or exacerbated by stress or intense emotions, including anxiety. This is known as psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES), which are seizures that resemble epileptic seizures but are not caused by abnormal brain activity.

In individuals with anxiety disorders, the fear of having a seizure or the experience of witnessing a seizure can also lead to increased anxiety, creating a cycle of anxiety and seizure activity.

It’s important to note that PNES are different from epileptic seizures, which are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. PNES are considered a conversion disorder, where psychological distress manifests as physical symptoms. Diagnosis and management of PNES typically involve a multidisciplinary approach that may include neurological evaluation, psychiatric assessment, and psychological therapy.

If you or someone you know experiences seizures or seizure-like episodes, it’s essential to seek evaluation from a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. A thorough medical and neurological evaluation can help determine the underlying cause of the seizures and guide appropriate management strategies.

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