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of everyone affected by epilepsy


Therapies to help your mental and emotional health

If you are experiencing anxiety, depression or stress, your family doctor may suggest that you try a psychological therapy. These are sometimes called talking therapies. They offer an opportunity to explore problems that are affecting your mental or emotional health with a trained professional. They also help you to find ways of dealing with the problems.

Not all psychological therapies are suitable for everyone, so talk to your family doctor about which one might work best for you. Here are some examples of psychological therapies, but many others are also available.


Counselling allows you to talk about your problems and feelings in a confidential environment. A trained counsellor listens to you and can help you deal with your negative thoughts and feelings.

Counselling can take place face-to-face, individually or in a group, over the phone or by email.

Your family doctor may offer you some counselling through the NHS. Alternatively, you can pay privately to see a counsellor. The Counselling Directory has details of counsellors in the UK.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT can help you to manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It helps you to understand the links between your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. This can help you to manage your problems in a more positive way.

CBT is usually provided by a trained therapist but psychiatric nurses and social workers may also be able to do this. CBT is also available through online courses.  Your family doctor may be able to arrange for you to do a CBT course through the NHS, or you can pay privately to do one.

Mindfulness-based therapies

Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment. It involves being aware of your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, and calmly accepting them. Mindfulness-based therapies include Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They can include techniques such as meditation, breathing and yoga.

Research suggests mindfulness-based therapy may be helpful for people with depression. However, there have been some reports of people having negative effects from practising mindfulness. A good mindfulness teacher should be able to advise you on any potential risks, and help you decide if it’s right for you.

Mindfulness-based therapy can take place in classes with other people. There are also online courses available. Your family doctor may be able to arrange for you to do a mindfulness course through the NHS, or you can pay privately to do one. The UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations publishes a list of trained mindfulness-based teachers.

If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. If you are unable to access the internet, please contact our Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone on 0808 800 5050.


Epilepsy Action would like to thank Professor Markus Reuber, Professor of Clinical Neurology at theUniversity of Sheffield and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for his help in producing this information.

Professor Reuber has declared no conflict of interest.

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated December 2016
    To be reviewed December 2019

Comments: read the 2 comments or add yours


Hi my name is Charlotte.
I suffer from Epilepsy that I have had for 10 years now and I am now 19. I have struggled more since I have become a young adult and started college I have wanted more freedom. My parents are very sensitive when It comes to going out to friends houses for sleepovers, going out into town and sometimes going down to the pub.
I become very depressed and find it hard to take in feedback. I can get to a point if it isn't done my way I can get very emotional or abusive.
I find this very hard to control and am hard to calm down. I have been in a relationship for 2 years, since that my actions have changed I've given up a lot of my hobbies don't want to spend as much time with my family any more, I spend a lot of time in my room on my phone not communicating any more with my family. I go to bed at stupid times and then find it hard to get up the next morning.

Submitted by Charlotte Evans on

Hi Charlotte

That sounds like a tough situation to be in.

I wonder which epilepsy medicine you’re taking? Some of them can really affect your mood. It might be worth talking to your epilepsy nurse or neurologist about this. A different epilepsy medicine could possibly make you feel much less depressed.

Many people with epilepsy have problems with depression. Hopefully our information will give you some ideas about how to get some help with this.

I wonder if you would find it useful to be in touch with other people with epilepsy? You could do this online or face to face.

It’s quite common for there to be some tension between parents and their teenagers. But it is a bit more likely if you have a health condition. Your parents will probably want you to stay very safe. And you probably want to go out and experience the world. Hopefully you can come to some kind of compromise on this. Our information for young people talks about this a bit more.

Feeling positive enough to avoid your possible seizure triggers can be hard. But I am guessing fewer seizures would make things feel a bit better for you.
I do hope there’s some useful information in here for you. But if we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.



Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

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