Refractory epilepsy: an evaluation of psychological methods in outpatient management

Epilepsia. Jul-Aug 1990;31(4):427-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1990.tb05498.x.


Two groups of adult outpatients (n = 19 and n = 21) with poorly controlled epilepsy and significant psychological disorder, assessed in terms of rating scales, received two psychological treatments in a balanced cross-over design after stable baseline seizure frequency had been established. A third group (n = 19), who had poorly controlled epilepsy but no significant psychological disturbance received one type of psychological treatment after a stable baseline. The treatments were educational and were designed to improve coping skills. Weekly seizure frequency was monitored for 42 weeks, and self-rating measures of anxiety and depression were obtained before treatment and at the end of follow-up. All three groups showed a significant reduction in seizure frequency that was maintained at 6-month follow-up. The two groups with psychological symptoms showed a significant improvement in scores on the self-rating scales. We concluded that routine use of psychological intervention may be helpful in outpatient management of epilepsy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Relaxation Therapy