[ARTICLE] Explanatory factors of quality of life in psychogenic non-epileptic seizure

  • Recherche,
  • Santé-Sciences-Technologie,
Quality of life in psychogenic non-epileptic seizure
Quality of life in psychogenic non-epileptic seizure

le 7 mai 2021

Published in Seizure

Collaborative research project led by Dr. Hingray (CHU de Nancy, service de psychiatrie, centre psychothérapeutique de Nancy, France) in which Prof. El-Hage and Prof. de Toffol


Objective: Previous studies showed that patients with Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES) have poor quality of life (QoL). This study explored the explicative factors of the QoL at the time of diagnosis and monitored changes over the two years of follow-up.

Methods: We evaluated 107 participants with a diagnosis of Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizure (PNES), every 6 months for 24 months. Quality of life (QoL) was evaluated using the QOLIE-31 and SF-36 scales (respectively specific and generic scales of QoL). Positive evolution of QoL was defined by the increase in the score of overall QoL using QOLIE-31 sub-scale from baseline to the last interview of the patient. We also collected for each patient data on psychiatric dimensions (childhood abuse, history of traumatic events, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, alexithymia, and dissociation), clinical evolution of seizures and the number of mental health consultations.

Results: According to the QOLIE-31 and the SF-36, depression (p ≤ 0.001), anxiety (p < 0.001), alexithymia (p ≤ 0.001), and dissociation (p ≤ 0.004) were related to QoL at the time of the diagnosis. According to SF-36 (mental and physical), PTSD was also significantly associated with QoL (p < 0.05). The number of seizures or the co-occurrence of epilepsy did not influence QoL. Positive evolution of QoL was linked to the number of consultations for mental health issues (p = 0.02).

Significance: Post-traumatic dimensions (PTSD, dissociation), alexithymia and psychiatric comorbidities (depression and anxiety disorders) seem to alter QoL in people with PNES. The current study suggests that mental health care improves QoL of patients with PNES.


Mental health consultation; PNES; Prognosis; Psychiatric comorbidity; Quality of life.

Contact :
Prof. Wissam El-Hage :