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26-11-2014 | Online Psychological Interventions could help those with epilepsy and depression

26 November 2014
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A new study undertaken by the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and published in the current edition of Epilepsia, the official journal of the ILAE, indicates that people with epilepsy who are affected by depression can be helped by a psychological online intervention called Deprexis.

Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder among persons with epilepsy, but despite its major impact on quality of life and risk of suicide, individuals with epilepsy are not assessed or treated for it. This treatment gap has to be reduced to allow persons with epilepsy to access psychological services if they have a diagnosis of depression. 

The research team assessed individuals who self-reported epilepsy and individualised complaints of depressive symptoms, who then either received Deprexis intervention or were placed on a waiting list group. After nine weeks, these individuals were asked to complete an online reassessment. 

The assessment showed that compared to those on the waiting list group, those who received psychological online interventions experienced a substantial decrease in symptoms, with a moderate effect size in the complete observations analysis and a small effect in the intervention-to-treat analysis. For those who received Deprexis there were significant improvements in energy and fatigue levels on the subscale of the Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory. 

The researchers concluded: "The results of this trial suggest that psychological online interventions may be a feasible and beneficial tool for people with epilepsy who have comorbid depressive symptoms."

Depression is a common condition, affecting more than 450,000 people in Ireland (one in ten) ** However, there is considerable evidence to suggest that the issue is more prevalent among those with long-term health conditions such as epilepsy.

Indeed, 1 in every 3 people with epilepsy may experience some form of depression during their lifetime, with depressive symptoms sometimes linked to seizure occurrence. Others may find that their epilepsy medication may make them more predisposed to depression, an issue that patients should discuss with their doctors or neurologists.

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/epi.12833/abstract

Source: ** Aware

Source: Epilepsy Action: Epilepsy & Depression

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