The role of doctor and patient in the construction of the pseudo-epileptic attack disorder

Periodic attacks of uncertain origin, where the clinical presentationresembles epilepsy but there is no evidence of a somatic disease, arecalled Pseudo-Epilepsy or Pseudo-Epileptic Attack Disorder (PEAD). PEADmay be called a `non-disease', i.e. a disorder on the fringes ofestablished disease patterns, because it lacks a rationalpathophysiological explanation. The first aim of this article is tocriticize the idea, common in medical science, that diseases are realentities which exist separately from the patient, waiting to bediscovered by the doctor. We argue that doctor and patient construct adisease, and that the construction of the disease PEAD includes manynormative evaluations. The second aim is to provide insight into thesuffering of patients with PEAD. We focus on three aspects of thepatient, identity, autonomy and responsibility. We present somecharacteristic descriptions of (pseudo-)epileptic attacks by FjodorDostoevsky, Gustave Flaubert and Thomas Mann. We argue that diagnosingPEAD reduces a meaningful life event into an insignificant, thoughintriguing, medical phenomenon, and that the patient will not benefitfrom being diagnosed as having PEAD
Keywords autonomy  constructionism  disease concept  epilepsy  identity  pseudo-epilepsy  pseudo-epileptic attack disorder  responsibility  taxonomic realism  taxonomic scepticism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1009921329444
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,422
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Marian Rabinowitz (1980). Medicine as a Trade. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 1 (3):255-261.
Patricia Illingworth (2002). Trust: The Scarcest of Medical Resources. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 27 (1):31 – 46.
Harry H. Gordon (1983). The Doctor–Patient Relationship. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 8 (3):243-256.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

5 ( #572,987 of 1,924,993 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #418,001 of 1,924,993 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.