Title 38


4.122 Psychomotor epilepsy.

§ 4.122 Psychomotor epilepsy.

The term psychomotor epilepsy refers to a condition that is characterized by seizures and not uncommonly by a chronic psychiatric disturbance as well.

(a) Psychomotor seizures consist of episodic alterations in conscious control that may be associated with automatic states, generalized convulsions, random motor movements (chewing, lip smacking, fumbling), hallucinatory phenomena (involving taste, smell, sound, vision), perceptual illusions (deja vu, feelings of loneliness, strangeness, macropsia, micropsia, dreamy states), alterations in thinking (not open to reason), alterations in memory, abnormalities of mood or affect (fear, alarm, terror, anger, dread, well-being), and autonomic disturbances (sweating, pallor, flushing of the face, visceral phenomena such as nausea, vomiting, defecation, a rising feeling of warmth in the abdomen). Automatic states or automatisms are characterized by episodes of irrational, irrelevant, disjointed, unconventional, asocial, purposeless though seemingly coordinated and purposeful, confused or inappropriate activity of one to several minutes (or, infrequently, hours) duration with subsequent amnesia for the seizure. Examples: A person of high social standing remained seated, muttered angrily, and rubbed the arms of his chair while the National Anthem was being played; an apparently normal person suddenly disrobed in public; a man traded an expensive automobile for an antiquated automobile in poor mechanical condition and after regaining conscious control, discovered that he had signed an agreement to pay an additional sum of money in the trade. The seizure manifestations of psychomotor epilepsy vary from patient to patient and in the same patient from seizure to seizure.

(b) A chronic mental disorder is not uncommon as an interseizure manifestation of psychomotor epilepsy and may include psychiatric disturbances extending from minimal anxiety to severe personality disorder (as distinguished from developmental) or almost complete personality disintegration (psychosis). The manifestations of a chronic mental disorder associated with psychomotor epilepsy, like those of the seizures, are protean in character.