Do other conditions mimic epilepsy?

There are other conditions that include seizures which may resemble epileptic seizures. Those include sleep apnea, panic attacks, hypoglycemia, abnormal heart rhythm and fainting.

Alcoholics and drug addicts also can experience a seizure from substance abuse.

A sizable number of infants and small children also experience febrile seizures as a result of a high fever, but they generally do not develop epilepsy.

Yes, there are several conditions mimicking epilepsy, such as syncope, cataplexy, myoclonus, TIA, periodic paralyses and pseudo seizures in adults. In addition breath holding spells and hemiplegic migraines can also be seen in children. Any of the above conditions need to be carefully evaluated by a specialist in order to exclude the possibility of underlying epilepsy.

Aria Fallah, MD
Many conditions can mimic epilepsy. These include:
  • narcolepsy
  • tics
  • abnormal heart rhythms
  • breath-holding spells
  • syncope
  • migraine disorders
  • sleep-related phenomena 
It is critical to be evaluated by a neurologist who specializes in epilepsy to ensure that the diagnosis of epilepsy is accurate prior to pursuing treatment.

Continue Learning about Epilepsy & Seizures Warning Signs & Symptoms

Can You Have a Seizure and Not Know It?
Can You Have a Seizure and Not Know It?
When you think of seizures, you may picture uncontrollable convulsions and loss of consciousness. However, these symptoms do not happen to many people...
Read More
How do seizure disorder symptoms mimic schizophrenia?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Some people with seizure disorder experience symptoms that may lead a doctor to suspect a diagno...
More Answers
What are the symptoms of a seizure?
American Red CrossAmerican Red Cross
Signs of seizures include: A blank stare A period of distorted sensation during which the pers...
More Answers
How can I tell if someone is having a seizure?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
There are different kinds of seizures, each with different symptoms. Seizures can happen unexpectedl...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.