NES is a common illness and has many names: non-epileptic seizures, non-electrical seizures, dissociative attacks, functional seizures, psychogenic non-epileptic events, somatoform disorder, conversion disorder or psychogenic seizures to name a few. These events are outwardly similar to epileptic seizures but have a different underlying cause. They can involve anything from "zoning out" to fully blacking out and having violent movements similar to epileptic seizures. Sometimes patients are told, incorrectly, that they have epileptic seizures which can be very confusing as very few patients have both. In some cases, patients with NES are given medicines for epilepsy. Making the right diagnosis is essential because medicines for epilepsy are often not helpful for NES which has a different treatment pathway.
What's different about NES, and how is it treated?
Unlike epilepsy, NES is not accompanied by abnormal discharges on the EEG. NES is due to a temporary circuit disruption in the brain, akin to "circuit overload." This makes it difficult, or often impossible, to stay aware and control what the body is doing during an event
Our NES program has several components:
• A complete psychiatric assessment
• Psychoeducational or psychodynamic group therapy
• Individual therapy
• Family assessment
• Medication management
• You will have a treatment team of neurologists and psychiatrists
• You will be a full participant in the decisions about your care
The individual, group and family interventions focus on teaching techniques to manage the triggers and warning signs of NES and avoiding "circuit overload."
What will my program of care look like?
• The NES team meets weekly and discusses the best plan for each patient.
• Our goal is to return you back to your primary care team after six months.
• We will develop a transition plan with you.
• We are optimistic that you will do well with our program.
To learn more about NES treatment, please click on this video.
To make an appointment:
Appointments in NES clinic are arranged, when appropriate, after diagnosis in the epilepsy monitoring unit. We suggest that you contact your neurologist or primary care provider to discuss diagnosis and treatment. Please call 720-848-2080 for general quesstions about appointments in the University of Colorado Outpatient Neurology Clinic.
We accept all PPO/HMO/POS plans. Please call your insurance carrier to verify benefits and coverage at University of Colorado Hospital.