PNES

Letter from the Director

Welcome! If you are looking to learn more about psychogenic non epileptic seizures (PNES), also known as non-epileptic attack disorder (NEAD) and about the available diagnostic and treatment services we offer patients in New York and New Jersey, please read on.

For over ten years I have had the opportunity to work with patients who have been diagnosed with psychogenic seizures. It still astounds me that almost every time I begin to talk to a new patient I hear about a long road they had to travel to arrive at our program. This trip typically started with uncontrollable seizures and doctors who treated the condition as medically untreatable epilepsy. Eventually, a diagnosis of psychogenic non epileptic seizures (PNES or NEAD) may have been made; this was sometimes followed by a referral to a psychotherapist. Many times, the psychotherapist as well as many other doctors were not familiar or refused to accept a patient with this condition. Disbelief and uncaring attitudes may have sometimes also expressed by friends and family. Adding to the patient's difficulties, information on the condition was nearly impossible to find. Years of work with our patients have helped shape our view of psychogenic non epileptic seizures and to develop a novel and unique treatment program. Our program is based on a team approach in which our patients are followed closely from their very first neurological visit all the way through completion of psychological treatment. 

The cornerstone of the program is a therapy cycle that was specifically designed to target underlying emotional issues that often maintain and fuel psychogenic events. Patients undergo a battery of tests to determine whether they might benefit from our different treatment modalities. Patients are seen in individually tailored therapies in which they learn about PNES/NEAD and target the main difficulties fueling their condition. If a patient is dually diagnosed with PNES or NEAD and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a form of modified prolonged exposure therapy is offered. Ongoing on-line monthly support groups are provided for those who may need to touch base with the team after they complete the program. 

We strive towards other healthy pathways too by supporting educational and wellness programs for patients, our Psychological non epileptic seizures Facebook page, and through a monthly PNES or NEAD blog that I write or have invited writers living with PNES or NEAD make contributions.  In 2014, I wrote a book (Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures: A Guide) for patients and loved ones.  All royalties go to Epilepsy Free (a foundation that grants college scholarships for adults with PNES or NEAD). In sum, our goals are several: to provide an accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and support, promote future health and empowerment and, educate all who are interested in learning about psychogenic non epileptic seizures.

I invite you to visit the different sections of our site and I look forward to meeting you in person someday soon.  

Lorna Myers, PhD
Director
PNES Diagnostic and Treatment Program

Our recent publications
Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures:
A Guide
(new book)

Click here to look inside.

When you were first given the diagnosis of PNES/NEAD did you also receive (if you received several, pick the one that was most helpful):

x
Survey results

When you were first given the diagnosis of PNES/NEAD did you also receive (if you received several, pick the one that was most helpful):

These are the most recent survey results
44 votes
the name of a psychotherapist/psychiatrist
23%
a recommendation to find a therapist on your own
34%
a book
5%
a pamphlet
11%
nothing
27%