The Impact of Psychiatric Intervention on Patients with Uncontrolled Seizures

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There is much evidence that emotional stress can trigger both neurogenic and hysterical seizures in susceptible patients. We reviewed our experience with 37 patients whose seizures appeared to be precipitated at times by emotional stress and had not been controlled by anticonvulsant medication alone. Approximately 70 per cent of patients demonstrated substantial improvement in seizure control after psychiatric treatment and maintained this improvement during follow-up. The findings of this study suggest that patient characteristics associated with better prognosis include normal intelligence, partial (as opposed to generalized) neurogenic seizures, a diagnosis of hysterical seizures, a less severely abnormal EEG, and being hypnotizable. After psychiatric treatment, 32 per cent of patients had their anticonvulsant medication reduced and another 16 per cent had it discontinued.

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