Can PTSD Cause Seizures

Can PTSD Cause Seizures?

PTSD, a mental health condition that may arise following exposure to a traumatic event, typically manifests through emotional distress as its primary indicator.
The key display of PTSD generally revolves around experiencing negative emotions.

Recent studies suggest there’s a connection between PTSD and physical health, like being traumatized after witnessing a seizure.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, reach out to Healthy Mind. Our experts help with different mental health issues, our expertise in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Below we’ll be answering an important question “Can PTSD Cause Seizures?”
Let’s find out.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Can PTSD Cause Seizures

PTSD is a mental health condition that may develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event.
Severe anxiety and flashbacks, enduring well beyond the traumatic incident, continue to disrupt daily life and strain relationships for those who have experienced such trauma.

It can affect anyone, regardless of age or background, and may result from events such as combat, accidents, or assault.
Treatment typically involves therapy and medication to manage symptoms and enhance overall well-being.

What Does a PTSD Episode Look Like?

Can PTSD Cause Seizures

A PTSD episode is like a sudden and intense reliving of a traumatic event.
People may feel scared, sad, or panicky, and they might have nightmares or vivid memories about what happened. It can make it hard to sleep, focus, or feel safe.

Some might avoid things that remind them of the trauma, and they may become easily upset or jumpy.
Everyone’s experience is different, but these episodes can be overwhelming and challenging to manage.

Understanding Seizures

A seizure is a sudden and uncontrolled disturbance in the brain’s electrical activity.
The brain experiences unregulated disruption during a seizure, resulting in alterations in behavior, movements, emotions, and levels of consciousness.
Seizures come in different types:

  • Epileptic seizures, caused by strange brain activity.
  • Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), related to emotions.

While people often associate seizures with epilepsy, having a seizure doesn’t necessarily mean someone has PTSD epilepsy.
Let’s continue reading more about two common types of seizures associated with PTSD in detail.

Epileptic Seizures

Can PTSD Cause Seizures

Epileptic seizures happen when there’s unusual electrical activity in the brain, causing temporary disruptions in normal functioning.
These can range from subtle changes in awareness to more noticeable symptoms like shaking or losing consciousness.

People may experience different types of seizures, and various factors, such as genetics or brain injuries, can contribute to epilepsy. Doctors diagnose it through medical history, exams, and tests like EEG.
Treatment often involves medications or lifestyle adjustments to manage and reduce seizures, helping individuals with epilepsy lead more normal lives.

Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES)

Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) resemble epileptic seizures but are not caused by abnormal brain electrical activity.
Triggered by psychological factors like emotional distress, PNES highlights the mind-body connection, where the brain’s response to stressors manifests as physical symptoms, including seizures.

Distinguishing PNES from epilepsy requires specialized medical evaluation like video electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring, revealing the absence of abnormal brain activity during PNES episodes.
It’s crucial to recognize that individuals with PNES are not intentionally faking their seizures, these events result from subconscious responses to psychological distress.
Treatment involves addressing underlying psychological factors through therapy and counseling.

Can PTSD Cause Seizures?

Evidence shows that the probability of seizures is higher in individuals who have undergone both PTSD and a Traumatic brain injury (TBI).
People with PTSD may experience PNES, also called dissociative seizures. The seizures in persons with PTSD may look similar to those caused by problems with brain activity like shaking and passing out.
PTSD can increase the chance of seizures, but they’re not always the same. For those with a history of head injuries, it might be epileptic seizures, others may experience a different kind. If you notice seizure symptoms with PTSD, seek medical help.

What Causes PTSD-Induced Seizures?

PTSD-induced seizures may result from the intense stress and emotional trauma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The brain’s response to severe stress can lead to abnormal electrical activity, triggering seizures. Emotional and psychological factors, along with changes in neurotransmitters, contribute to the heightened seizure risk in individuals with PTSD.

The complex interplay between trauma, the brain’s stress response, and neurological functions can manifest as seizures in susceptible individuals.
Treatment often involves addressing both the underlying PTSD and managing the seizures through medication and therapy.
Below, we mention some other Queries about PTSD and Seizures you may learn valuable information by reading.

How do Hormones Play a Role in PTSD and Seizures?

  • The link between PTSD and seizures is not fully understood, but research suggests hormones, especially cortisol, may be involved.
  • Cortisol, released in response to stress, maybe dysregulated in individuals with PTSD, leading to an overactive stress response.
  • Changes in the brain triggered by cortisol dysregulation may increase the likelihood of seizures in individuals with PTSD.
  • Studies indicate that individuals with PTSD who experience seizures tend to have higher cortisol levels than those without seizures.
  • Other stress-related hormones like adrenaline and norepinephrine may also contribute to an elevated risk of seizures by influencing changes in the brain.

How Many EMDR Sessions for Complex PTSD?

The number of EMDR sessions for complex PTSD is different for everyone. On average, it might be around 12 to 20 sessions, but some need more or less.
It depends on how severe the PTSD seizure disorder is and how well the person responds to therapy.
A mental health professional will work with you to figure out the right number of sessions, regularly checking your progress and adjusting the plan as needed.

How to Explain PTSD to Someone Who Doesn’t Have it?

For those unfamiliar with PTSD, it is essential to understand that it follows a traumatic event, leading to recurring feelings and memories that disrupt daily life.
Managing these feelings can be challenging for individuals with PTSD, affecting relationships and making trust and closeness difficult.

Fortunately, with support and professional help, individuals with PTSD can make significant strides toward improvement.
If someone you know is dealing with PTSD, your understanding, patience, and support play a crucial role in their journey to recovery.

Diagnosis of PTSD-Related Seizures

Understanding and treating seizures linked to PTSD involves a careful evaluation that considers both the person’s mental and neurological well-being.
Medical tests and assessments by mental health professionals are crucial to figure out what’s causing post-traumatic stress seizures and to create a suitable treatment plan.

To understand seizures, doctors first ask about your health and check your body.
They may use a test called electroencephalography (EEG) to see what happens in your brain during seizures.

Sometimes, doctors also record your seizures on video to learn more about them.

Treatment Options for PTSD-Related Seizures

When dealing with seizures linked to PTSD, often requires a team of different experts.
The main goal of treatment is to lessen how often and how intense the seizures are, handle the symptoms of PTSD, help in recovering from PTSD, and make life better overall.

Treatment Method for PTSD and Seizures

To help with PTSD seizure symptoms, doctors may give you medications like anticonvulsants or psychiatric drugs.
They may also recommend talking therapies like CBT or EMDR to help deal with the reasons behind the tough experiences and reduce the problems caused by PTSD.

Final Thoughts – Can Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Cause Seizures

So “Can PTSD cause seizures?” Yes,

PTSD can cause seizures, especially if there’s a history of traumatic brain injury.
The seizures, set off by emotional stress, may not be the same as the regular kind.

Treatment involves a mix of medications and therapy to help manage both the seizures and the underlying issues related to PTSD epilepsy, aiming for overall improvement and recovery.
At Healthy Mind, we know how essential care is for people with PTSD. Please contact us for more information about our service.


Q: Can bipolar cause seizures?

Bipolar disorder doesn’t cause seizures, but certain medications used to treat it can raise the risk of seizures in some people. Always talk to a doctor for personalized guidance.

Q: Is PTSD neurodivergent?

No, PTSD is not neurodivergent. Trauma leads to this mental health condition, whereas neurodivergence typically points to variations in brain development, such as autism or ADHD.

Q: Is complex PTSD a disability?

Complex PTSD may be seen as a disability if it seriously affects your daily life, but it depends on the individual, and a professional assessment is needed.

Q: Does PTSD ever go away?

PTSD can improve, but it might not go away entirely. Treatment and support play an important role in managing symptoms.

Q: How common are non-epileptic seizures after a head injury?

After a head injury, some people may have non-epileptic seizures, and while not super common, it’s important to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and care.

Scroll to Top