Dissociation, epileptic-like activity and lateralized electrodermal dysfunction in patients with schizophrenia and depression.

OBJECTIVES: Recent evidence indicates frequent EEG abnormalities in dissociated patients. This evidence is in agreement with findings that in certain psychiatric patients, psychosensory symptoms of epileptogenic nature, the so-called complex partial seizure-like symptoms occur. With respect to these findings, a hypothesis examined in this study states that increased level of experienced traumatic stress and dissociation in pathological conditions such as schizophrenia or depression relates to increased score of complex partial seizure-like symptoms. Also is suggested that the complex partial seizure-like symptoms might be related to unilateral hemispheric electrophysiological dysfunction, stress and dissociation.

PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: Psychometric assessment of dissociation, stress and measurement of right-left asymmetry of bilateral EDA in patients with schizophrenia (N=34) and depression (N=41) in comparison to healthy controls (N=36).

RESULTS: Results indicate that increased traumatic stress and dissociation in both groups of patients significantly relate to increased level of complex partial seizure-like symptoms, and may cause the right-left EDA asymmetry.

CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest relationship between left-hemispheric asymmetry and sympathetic over-activation in schizophrenia, and between right-hemispheric asymmetry with sympathetic under-activation in depression.

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