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April 1986

Self-induced Photosensitive Absence Seizures With Ictal Pleasure

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham (Drs Faught and Falgout); and the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry (Dr Nidiffer) and Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, Department of Neurology (Dr Dreifuss), University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville.

Arch Neurol. 1986;43(4):408-410. doi:10.1001/archneur.1986.00520040086028

• A 32-year-old woman was treated for self-induced photosensitive seizures that included strong subjective feelings of pleasure and masturbatory behavior. Electroencephalograms demonstrated generalized polyphasic spike-wave discharges in response to stroboscopic stimulation. The behavioral sequences leading to seizures and the effects of treatment can be explained in terms of operant conditioning theory. Data from human and animal studies indicate a correlation between ictal pleasure or reinforcement and the subject's ability to induce seizures. Ictal pleasure is rare in spontaneous seizures that are not under the control of the patient.