- The term paraesthesia comes from the Greek words para (beside, near, resembling, accessory to, beyond, apart from, abnormal) and aisthanesthai (to sense). It is used to denote a somatic sensation with no apparent extracor-poreal cause, usually located in or beneath the skin. It tends to be described in terms of numbness, tingling, prickling, burning, * formication, or a sensation of 'pins and needles'. Paraesthe-sia may be either transient or chronic. Transient paraesthesia may be due to conditions such as dehydration, anaesthesia, vitamin B12 deficiency, *hypoglycaemia, hyperventilation, and panic attacks. When an arm or leg has 'fallen asleep' due to sustained local pressure and/or poor circulation, the term acroparaesthesia is used. Chronic paraesthesia may result from prolonged poor circulation, neuropathy, and many other conditions. Paraesthesia can also occur in the context of epileptic seizures. In a study by the French physicians François Mauguière et al. among 3,531 individuals with epilepsy, paraesthe-sias were found in 90% of the cases of somatosen-sory seizures.ReferencesMauguière, F. (1999). Scope and presumed mechanisms of hallucinations in partial epileptic seizures. Epileptic Disorders, 1, 81-91.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.