What is Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder (NEAD)?

  • A non-epileptic attack is a type of seizure. It can look similar to epileptic seizures or fainting spells, but it is not caused by abnormal electrical discharges or blood pressure.
  • The term 'non-epileptic seizure' can lead to a lot of confusion amongst people. It is actually a well-recognised and common disorder that affects one in four patients coming to epilepsy clinics.
  • Another term we use is 'dissociative seizures'. This is because the main mechanism for seizures is a normal brain reflex called dissociation that seems to go into overdrive in some people, causing symptoms like seizures.
  • Non-epileptic attacks happen when the brain can’t handle particular thoughts, memories, emotions or sensations. They can also sometimes relate to stress or a previous experience of trauma, i.e. something outside your control which feels too hard to bear.

Find more information about our trusts neuro-psychology services here:

Read more in our trust leaflets:

Non-epileptic attacks: A short guide for patients and families

Taking control of your non-epileptic attacks

Learn more about functional symptoms at:


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