Sometimes, brain cells misfire the electrical signals used to communicate. That can trigger a seizure. While typically, seizures are thought to be a symptom of epilepsy, occasional convulsions may be evidence of another disorder.

Epilepsy is a chronic disease directly linked to brain function. The illness affects over two million Americans and due to direct and indirect expenses, costs $15.5 billion annually. Moving and shaking are common symptoms associated with the medical condition. However, convulsions and an epilepsy diagnosis are not mutually exclusive.

Doctors use a broad, two-category classification system to diagnose patients with epilepsy or not. The two types of epileptic seizures are generalized (AKA local) and partial (AKA focal).

Not All Seizures are Created Equally

Not All Seizures are Created Equally

While non-epileptic seizures (NES) can mimic the symptoms of the brain-linked convulsions, they are in their own league. These tremors are caused by something other than electrical brain activity and are categories either as organic and psychogenic seizures.

Organic seizures have a physical cause. Finding that trigger can result in diagnoses and help define treatment options. Allergic reactions to medications, diabetes, fainting, neuromuscular disorders, ovulation and heart disease can bring about seizures, but they are not the only source of the symptom. When thoughts and feelings impact the way the brain works that can result in a psychogenic NES.

According to the Epilepsy Society, psychogenic NES is linked to trauma. Accidents, death of a loved one, stress, challenging relationships, being bullied, or physical or sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder all hold the potential of kicking off a non-epileptic episode.

Stress can manifest in many different ways, as a result, it is one of the biggest links to psychogenic NES. A study on Johns Hopkins in-patient epilepsy treatment has shown that more than a third of seizure patients had convulsions that were psychogenic in nature.

Although they can look incredibly scary, seizures usually pass quickly. Ignore whatever story you heard about spoons, WebMD recommends a hands-off approach. The situation will quickly remedy itself and human intervention can cause more harm than good.

While there may be no cause for concern, the first seizure should be considered a warning and seeking professional medical attention is advised. A trip to a neurologist is essential to categorize the condition. Treatment options depend on what is unearthed during the diagnoses process.