Information about non epileptic seizures and Non Epileptic Attack Disorder.


Below you will find some of the more common questions we are asked. If your question is not listed please feel free to get in touch via our Contact form.

Is there a hormonal link?

More women than men develop NEAD and many of our lady members have found that their attacks are worse around certain times of the month. We asked our medical adviser, Professor Markus Reuber, why that may be and whether any research had been done on it. He told us:

“I have many patients who have observed a relationship between their menstrual cycle and their seizures, but I am not aware of any research in this area. There could be many reasons why nonepileptic attacks could be worse at certain times of the month. Sex hormones (which change in a predictable pattern during the menstrual cycle) have direct effects on the brain. This may be why some women have an increased sensitivity to smells or sounds at particular times of their cycle. Sex hormones also have effects on emotions in many women or on emotion regulation. Sex hormones also cause subtle changes in the body shape which women may respond to.

Clear links between the menstrual cycle and seizures are also recognised in women with epilepsy (and in animal models of epilepsy). However, in women with epilepsy research has also demonstrated that true, statistically reliable, links between periods and seizures are rarer than women think. In some cases, it seems that period come to mind as a handy explanation for something that is difficult to explain, and are blamed for seizures when there is actually no link.”

What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for ‘Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing’. It’s a form of integrative therapy that is proving effective for people who have suffered from a traumatic experience such as abuse, a natural disaster, a bad accident etc. Some people with NEAD are being offered it as an alternative to cognitive behavioural therapy. For more information, click here.

Can I drive?

The DVLA needs to be notified if you are diagnosed with NEAD. For more information go to the Medical conditions, disabilities and driving section of the website. The DVLA will consult with your neurologist and make a decision on a case by case basis. For your own and other people’s safety, you should not drive unless you have been specifically told by the authorities that you can.

What about insurance?

Insurance companies are bound by the Equality Act but insurance is a service and as such insurance companies decide who they are willing to cover and for how much. Shop around for the best deals. It is better to be upfront about your health, especially when buying travel insurance.

What is sensory grounding?

Sensory grounding is a way of helping yourself stay focused in the present and can be a useful way of preventing a seizure. You can read more about the different techniques in our blog.

What is CBT?

CBT stands for cognitive behavioural therapy. It’s a form of talking therapy that helps you to work through your problems by changing the way you think (cognitive) and they way you behave (behavioural). It is currently considered to be the best treatment for people with NEAD. You can read more about it here.

What is CAMHS?

CAMHS stands for ‘Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services’. It’s a specialist NHS service for youngsters with mental health issues. To find your local CAMHS service, speak to your GP or look online.

What is Todd’s Paralysis?

Sometimes, people who have a seizure find that when they come round they can’t move an arm or a leg or even the whole of one side of their body. Naturally, this can be very frightening. This paralysis may last anything from a few minutes up to 36 hours.It’s known as Todd’s Paresis or Todd’s Paralysis. You can read more about it here.

What is FND?

FND stands for Functional Neurological Disorders. This is an umbrella term for neurological symptoms that have no obvious organic cause, with the usual tests coming back as clear. The term covers a wide range of symptoms including blackouts, functional limb weakness, tremors, dystonia, pain, sleep disorder and many more. NEAD comes under the FND umbrella. You can find out more about FND by clicking here.