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Evidence does not support psychological treatments for epilepsy - report

22 April, 2002

Psychological interventions are often used in attempts to reduce seizure frequency, improve the quality of life and avoid side effects of drug therapies among patients with epilepsy. While possibly encouraging and certainly not harmful, relaxation therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, EEG bio-feedback and patient education have not been shown to have a direct impact on seizures or quality of life, according to a study presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology .

Through a retrospective review of randomized or quasi-randomized studies assessing one or more types of psychological or behavior modification techniques for patients with epilepsy, researchers from Apollo Hospital in Tamilnadu, India, found no reliable evidence to support the use of these treatments.

“Some of the studies were of poor methodological quality, while others were contradictory in their results,” notes study author Dr Sridharan Ramaratnam.

“We found some promising indications regarding reduced anxiety, improved medication compliance and social competency, and even in seizure reduction to a slight degree, but further study is necessary to form more direct connections between psychological interventions and their potential for a positive impact with epilepsy patients.”