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Making Sense of NEAD

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Making Sense of Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder (NEAD): An IPA Study



  • Contact name

    Emma Cassinelli

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    The University of Manchester

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    1 years, 1 months, 30 days

  • Research summary

    When someone has functional neurological symptoms they might show physical signs like weakness in a part of their body, which isn’t caused by a physical illness. One functional diagnosis someone might receive is Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder (NEAD) where they have seizures which aren't due to epilepsy.

    Getting a diagnosis of functional symptoms can take a long time. People are often unhappy with how their problems are first explained to them, however there isn’t much research on if or how people go on to understand their difficulties. In one service, patients undergo an online course to support them through this process, the course provides information about what might be behind their difficulties and looks at skills to help manage their emotions.

    Through 90-minute online interviews I will be asking people with NEAD what it was like having an online course to help them make sense of their problems. The interviews will take place at three time points during the online course, before it starts, half-way through, and at the end.

    I will then analyse the data to see if any themes emerge across different people’s experiences to try to understand how people relate to the explanation given to them, how the online course impacts on their sense making, and how they find applying emotional coping skills when experiencing physical symptoms. It is hoped this will help us to better understand how people begin to make sense of a diagnosis of NEAD, allowing services to better tailor support and interventions to this client group.

    Participants for the study will be recruited through the NEAD Service in Salford Royal Hospital; they will be identified from a waiting list for the online course, by staff working in the service. The research project is funded by the University of Manchester.

  • REC name

    Yorkshire & The Humber - Leeds West Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    21 Apr 2022

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion