The experience of seizures : epilepsy and non-epileptic attack disorder

Tikare, Nicola and Eccles, Fiona and Keeling, Melanie (2016) The experience of seizures : epilepsy and non-epileptic attack disorder. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis comprises of a literature review, a research paper and a critical appraisal of the research process. In the literature review, a meta-synthesis methodology was used to identify and synthesise 15 studies that explored the experiences of living with epilepsy. Three themes emerged; ‘making sense of epilepsy: “it affects your perception of yourself”’; ‘the cost of epilepsy: “getting epilepsy has put me in poverty”’; and ‘significance of others in coping with epilepsy; “my family have always helped me”’. Findings are discussed in terms of the impact of epilepsy on identity and self, the losses that individuals have experienced as a consequence of epilepsy, and the ways in which perceived support from others can be helpful or unhelpful. The research paper utilised interpretative phenomenological analysis, whereby six participants who had received a diagnosis of non-epileptic attack disorder (NEAD) were interviewed, to explore how they had made sense of it. Three themes emerged; “NEAD is a confusing diagnosis; “all it means is it’s not epilepsy”’; ‘Legitimising the illness: feeling “like a bit of a fraud”’; and ‘NEAD as a challenge to identity: “I want to be more me again”’. Findings suggest that making sense of a diagnosis of NEAD is a challenging process, which differs from person to person. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed. The critical appraisal discusses the comparisons between the findings of the literature review and research paper. Reflections about epistemology are offered, alongside reflections on the research process as a whole.

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Thesis (PhD)
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14 Jun 2016 08:44
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 05:35