Are psychogenic non-epileptic seizures just another symptom of conversion disorder?

Richard A A Kanaan, Roderick Duncan, Laura H Goldstein, Joseph Jankovic, Andrea E Cavanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) are classified with other functional neurological symptoms as 'Conversion Disorder', but there are reasons to wonder whether this symptomatology constitutes a distinct entity.

METHODS: We reviewed the literature comparing PNES with other functional neurological symptoms.

RESULTS: We find eight studies that directly examined this question. Though all but one found significant differences-notably in presenting age, trauma history, and dissociation-they were divided on whether these differences represented an important distinction.

CONCLUSION: We argue that the aetiological and mechanistic distinctions they support, particularly when bolstered by additional data, give reason to sustain a separation between these conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-429
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Conversion Disorder
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders
  • Seizures


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