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December 1979

Hysterical Seizures

Author Affiliations

National Naval Medical Center Bethesda, MD 20014

Arch Neurol. 1979;36(13):859-860. doi:10.1001/archneur.1979.00500490073016

To the Editor.—  I read with interest the article by Dr Roy (Archives 36:447, 1979) about family and Personal history, attempted suicides, and affective disorders in patients with hysterical seizures. The personal history of psychiatric disorders and the Hamilton Rating Scale for depression, in particular, seem to have higher discriminatory value that we would have predicted. I see patients every week who have been erroneously treated for long periods of time for epilepsy, more often because of episodic behavior mistaken for complex partial seizures than for convulsions. It is often impossible to dissuade them from the diagnosis, once applied. Roy's report will be helpful to neurologists and other physicians in confronting this problem.Our colleagues generally trust that neurologists can distinguish hysterical attacks from seizures. Yet in our experience in a referral center, neurologists often fail to appreciate the high incidence of hysterical seizures and other "motivationally induced disturbances of behavior."