Characteristics and outcomes of youth with functional seizures attending intensive interdisciplinary pain treatment.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2024.109689


Functional seizures (FS) can be debilitating and negatively impact quality of life. Yet intervention research for FS is limited, especially for youth. This study examined clinical characteristics and outcomes of youth with FS (13-23 years) presenting to a pediatric intensive interdisciplinary pain treatment (IIPT) program in the midwestern United States. Sixty youth (mean age = 16.5 years; 83.3 % female) met inclusion criteria. At intake, comorbid chronic pain, somatic symptoms, autonomic dysfunction, eating and weight disturbances, and mental health concerns were common. Despite this high symptom burden, youth with FS reported significant improvements in functioning measured with the Functional Disability Inventory, t(53) = 9.80, p <.001, d = 1.32; depression measured with the Center for Epidemiological Studies - Depression Scale for Children, t(53) = 6.76, p <.001, d = 0.91; anxiety measured with the Spence Children's Anxiety Scale, t(53) = 3.97, p < .001, d = 0.53; and catastrophizing measured with the Pain Catastrophizing Scale for Children, t(53) = 6.44, p <.001, d = 0.86, following completion of the program, suggesting that IIPT may be an effective treatment option for highly disabled and emotionally distressed youth with FS. Future research is needed to continue to refine best practices for youth with FS to reduce suffering and improve outcomes.

Journal Title

Epilepsy & behavior : E&B



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MeSH Keywords

Humans; Child; Adolescent; Female; Male; Quality of Life; Emotions; Anxiety; Chronic Pain; Seizures


Functional neurological disorder; Functional neurological symptom disorder; Functional seizures; Intensive interdisciplinary pain treatment; Pain rehabilitation; Pediatric; Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures

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