Do other conditions mimic 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.

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.

Discovery Health

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.

Continue Learning about Epilepsy & Seizures Warning Signs & Symptoms

Epilepsy & Seizures Warning Signs & Symptoms

Epilepsy & Seizures Warning Signs & Symptoms

Seizures can be sporadic and unpredictable, making it hard to determine when one might occur. A person may experience an aura, such as a visual hallucination or strange smell at the beginning of the seizure. Other warning signs fo...

r a seizure include staring spells, loss of awareness and body stiffness or tingling. Whatever your specific seizure experience, it's important to keep track and discuss all your epilepsy symptoms with your doctor or neurologist.

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.