Conversion (Functional Neurological) Disorders in Children and Adults: How to Recognize and Treat Them Effectively
Patients diagnosed with conversion (also known as functional neurological symptom) disorder (DSM-5) present with what appear to be neurological symptoms (e.g. movement disorders, blindness, seizures) but which occur in the absence of neurological disease. Instead, conversion disorders (CDs) have a presumed psychogenic origin. They are often disabling, dangerous, and can become chronic if not treated in a timely manner. These patients tend to show up in the offices and clinics of mental health professionals with regularity and can be one of the most challenging patients to treat since they present with numerous psychiatric comorbidities and can exhibit dramatic and puzzling symptoms. In this webinar, the instructors will discuss pediatric and adult psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, the most frequent CD and will present the audience with ways to recognize, assess and treat these patients. Pediatric and adult CDs differ considerably in terms of risk factors and effective treatment approaches and this will be discussed. Empirically-validated treatment approaches for adult psychogenic non-epileptic seizures will also be discussed.
This session was originally presented as a live webinar in June 2020.
Upon completion of this webinar participants will be able to:
- Define and characterize functional neurological disorders including psychogenic non-epileptic seizures
- Discuss treatment options for patients with PNES depending on their psychiatric comorbidities and Demonstrate competence in managing a patient with PNES in their office
- Specify similarities and differences in adult and pediatric conversion disorders, with a special focus on psychogenic non-epileptic seizure
Presenters: Lorna Myers, PhD
Presenter Biography: Dr. Lorna Myers is the director of the PNES Program at the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group in New York and New Jersey. She is a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist and has been working with PNES and epilepsy for nearly 20 years. She is the author of Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures: A Guide which is a handbook for patients and loved ones. This book has also been published in Spanish and Japanese. All royalties from sales of this book are donated to a charity (Epilepsy Alliance of America) that offers scholarships to children and adults living with epilepsy and PNES. Dr. Myers also manages a website called www.nonepilepticseizures.com and writes a monthly blog on PNES.
Presenter: Julia Doss, PsyD
Presenter Biography: Julia Doss, PsyD, is a pediatric psychologist with the Minnesota Epilepsy Group for the past twelve years and Training Director for the Pediatric Psychology Fellowship Program. She has devoted her clinical and research career to working with children with epilepsy, their comorbid emotional and behavioral disorders, and to patients with psychogenic non-epileptic events. She is currently conducting a multidisciplinary intervention and prevention study of the psychiatric/psychological comorbidities in new onset youth with epilepsy. Since 2008, Dr. Doss has presented annually at the American Epilepsy Society, has 6 peer reviewed papers and 4 chapters, she is a co-author of a book on the treatment of non-epileptic events in children.
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