n South African Journal of Psychiatry - A case of nonconvulsive status epilepticus presenting as dissociative fugue




Nonconvulsive status epilepticus is characterised by changes in behaviour, memory, affect or level of consciousness. We report a case of nonconvulsive status epilepticus precipitated by carbamazepine that presented as dissociative fugue. The patient was a 49-year-old man. He first experienced a tonic-clonic seizure nine years previously and was diagnosed with epilepsy. He had been using carbamazepine 800 mg daily for the last eight years. He had not had any tonic-clonic seizures since carbamazepine was introduced but began to display behavioural disturbances periodically. He also left home many times, and remembered nothing about the period he had been away after he returned. He was hospitalised with a preliminary diagnosis of dissociative fugue. He had recurrent episodes with dissociative symptoms during his stay in the hospital. An electroencephalogram (EEG) and a 24-hour video EEG revealed nothing abnormal. An EEG recording taken during an episode indicated complex partial status epilepticus. Carbamazepine was substituted with valproate, and the patient was discharged in remission.


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