What is the treatment?

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For many people, being given a diagnosis of dissociative seizures with an explanation of what it is is enough to help them get better and they do not need any further treatment.

Some people will benefit from further treatment.

There is good research that shows that dissociative seizures can often be helped with talking therapies. This can include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

 

What is CBT?

The aim of CBT is to improve your quality of life by helping you to develop new strategies to manage non-epileptic seizures.

In CBT you learn to notice patterns in your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. You are helped to understand the impact that these patterns can have on dissociative seizures as well as your overall wellbeing.

You work with your therapist to decide on the goals you hope to achieve through CBT. You will be invited to practice different tasks between sessions to help you develop the skills you need to manage dissociative seizures and work towards your goals.

Why can't I get a pill?

Epileptic and dissociative seizures have different causes and therefore, the medication that is used to prevent epileptic seizures doesn’t help dissociative seizures.

Using epilepsy medication can cause unnecessary side effects, make dissociative seizures worse and even cause serious harm.

Some people with dissociative seizures experience other difficulties, such as depression and or anxiety. People with dissociative seizures may be prescribed anti-depressants/ anti-anxiety medication to help with these symptoms. 

Do I need to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist?

 

 

You may sometimes be referred to see a psychologist or psychiatrist. Some people believe that seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist means that they’re “crazy”. This is not true; it is very common for people to meet with psychologists or psychiatrists for many different reasons. If you have dissociative seizures, talking with a specially trained professional can help you make sense of them and feel more positive about your wellbeing. It can be confusing at first when you are told that dissociative seizures are closely link to psychological factors. It is well known however that dissociative seizures are not produced on purpose and the person with dissociative seizures is never at fault for having them. 

People can experience stressful and difficult events throughout their lives. It can be challenging to work out if or how such experiences are related to dissociative seizures on your own. It can also be tricky to understand why dissociative seizures started and what keeps them going.  Psychologists and psychiatrists have been specially trained to help people safely make sense of experiences like these using different forms of interventions, such as CBT.  Talking with someone with this training can help to identify triggers for dissociative and consider any factors that could be maintaining these events.

The processes in the brain which cause dissociative seizures may also cause other conditions such as depression and anxiety. These conditions can be treated with talking therapies and specific medication. Addressing these experiences can help dissociative seizures to improve for some people as well as enhancing your overall wellbeing.

Will I get better?

While there is no one solution that will make dissociative seizures go away completely, the potential for recovery is there.

Some people find a reduction in dissociative seizures allows them to return to a more normal life.

Some find they stop altogether.

Other people find that while their dissociative seizures continue at the same frequency, they find ways to accommodate them to live a fulfilling life despite dissociative seizures.

It is hard to predict who will improve and who will not, but fully engaging with the best advice and taking an active role in ensuring life goes on gives the best chance for a good outcome.

It’s important to remember that while people with dissociative seizures didn’t bring on the dissociative seizures, they can help themselves get better.