What Causes Psychomotor Epilepsy?

Reviewed on 4/13/2022
What Causes Psychomotor Epilepsy?
The cause of psychomotor epilepsy is not always known, but seizures may occur due to a traumatic brain injury, infections, brain tumors, a stroke, or genetic syndromes.

Psychomotor epilepsy is an old name for what is now called temporal lobe epilepsy, the most common form of focal epilepsy in which seizures start in one or both temporal lobes in the brain, called focal onset seizures.

The cause of temporal lobe epilepsy (psychomotor epilepsy) is not always known, but seizures may occur due to: 

  • Traumatic brain injury including head trauma with loss of consciousness or birth injury
  • Infections such as encephalitis or meningitis that happen early in life
  • A process that causes scarring (gliosis) in a part of the temporal lobe called the hippocampus
  • Blood vessel malformations in the brain
  • Brain tumors
  • Stroke
  • Genetic syndromes
  • A history of febrile seizures 
    • Most people who have febrile seizures do not develop temporal lobe epilepsy

What Are Symptoms of Psychomotor Epilepsy?

Symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy (psychomotor epilepsy) may include: 

  • Auras 
    • Feelings of déjà-vu 
    • Stomach upset
    • Feelings of fear, panic, anxiety
    • A rising sensation coming from the stomach to the chest or throat
    • The feeling of “butterflies” with nausea 
  • Auditory aura, such as buzzing or hearing a specific sound
  • Sensing an unusual smell
  • A fixed stare
  • Confusion or lack of awareness of what is going on around them
  • Fumbling with the fingers
  • Lip-smacking
  • Unusual posturing (movement or positioning) in an arm
  • Speaking gibberish 
  • Loss of ability to speak in a sensible manner
  • Tonic-clonic jerking
  • Weakness after the seizure has stopped

How Is Psychomotor Epilepsy Diagnosed?

There is no single test used to diagnose temporal lobe epilepsy (psychomotor epilepsy). A diagnosis starts with patient history and physical examination, along with tests such as: 

  • Neurological exam
  • Blood tests
    • To check for signs of infections
    • To screen for genetic conditions
    • Blood sugar levels 
    • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT)


What Is Epilepsy? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments See Slideshow

What Is the Treatment for Psychomotor Epilepsy?

Treatment for temporal lobe epilepsy (psychomotor epilepsy) includes: 

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 4/13/2022
Image Source: iStock Images