There has been the mistaken assumption that stress can be the cause PNES. This is not true in my opinion. Severe levels of stress can certainly be a trigger that leads to a PNES but not the cause. A recent news item concerning a celebrity notes this inaccurate link. The cause is rooted in trauma experienced in the past. Some people are critical of those who have PNES and have said that they have the seizures because they can’t handle stressful situations. This belief in unfortunately becoming more and more common.
Trauma that is the cause of the PNES is buried deep inside. The seizures are initiated by a trigger, which can be a flashback in the form of a feeling, sensation, smell or something seen. And yes, great stress can be a trigger. That stress may be similar to the stress felt during the original trauma. The seizure is a defense against that trauma that was so severe that it was a threat to one’s life.