OBJECTIVES: To examine baseline clinical features of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) in a large cohort and to investigate outcome over a period of up to 10 years. Studies investigating PNES have been limited by differences in diagnostic criteria, short follow-up periods, and the use of limited outcome measures. METHOD: Patients with PNES were identified, using strict diagnostic criteria. Baseline neurological, neuropsychiatric, and neuroimaging data were obtained from medical records. Long-term outcome was assessed with ratings of seizures, psychopathology, and quality of life in a subset of the patients. RESULTS: Patients with PNES (n = 221) experienced long delays in diagnosis (μ, 5.6 years; standard deviation, 7.7 years) and high rates (>60%) of prolonged treatment with antiepileptic drugs. Compared with previous studies, a relatively low proportion (8.1% to 17.9%, depending on diagnostic criteria) had comorbid epilepsy. An unexpected finding was that 22.6% of PNES patients had magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities. Patients assessed at follow-up (n = 61) exhibited poor long-term outcomes with ongoing PNES, high rates of psychopathology, low rates of specialist follow-up, poor quality of life, and poor overall levels of functioning. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate the need for earlier diagnosis of PNES and comorbidities and highlight the need for diagnostic and therapeutic approaches that combine neurological and psychiatric perspectives.
- Mental disorder
- Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures
- Quality of life.