Can Stress Actually Cause Seizures?

Is it really possible to stress yourself into a seizure? According to a small study performed by researchers from Johns Hopkins University, the answer is an adamant “yes.”

Researchers went through the data of patients who were admitted into the epilepsy monitoring unit at the university, and found that more than a third of all patients who had had a seizure didn’t have epilepsy. Instead, they had what’s referred to as, “psychogenic non-epileptic seizures”—seizures which are caused by stress.

Understanding Non-Epileptic Seizures

If you’re like me, you probably associate seizures with epilepsy. However, non-epileptic seizures are caused by stress, not abnormal brain activity. Most experts consider these types of seizures to be psychological in nature.

Are You At Risk?


According to Jason Brandt, Ph.D., patients with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures often behave as if they have an organic brain disease, even though they don’t; he goes on to say, “And it turns out that their life stresses weren’t all that high, but they’re very sensitive to stress and they don’t deal with it well.”

How It’s Treated

There are a variety of ways to treat non-epileptic seizures. Because they are frequently associated with anxiety, stress and depression, medication and counseling can help. It’s important for loved ones of those who suffer from this condition to realize that this is a real medical condition, not one that their loved ones are making up.

If you’re sensitive to stress and find it difficult to cope, you may not be at risk of seizure, but stress can take a toll on your life in other ways too. Stress has been linked to heart disease, obesity and even some types of cancer. If stress has begun to take over your life, or if you find yourself unsure with how to cope with it, the time has come to talk to your chiropractic team. They can teach you ways to manage the stress in your life so you can avoid unpleasant consequences.


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

Story credit Video creditPhoto credit: Meditation by HaPe_Gera. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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