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Epilepsy Behav. 2004 Aug;5(4):587-92.

Group psychoeducation as treatment for psychological nonepileptic seizures.

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  • 1New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, 403 East 34th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016, USA.


There is no consensus for the type(s) of treatment(s) that may be effective or ineffective for psychological nonepileptic seizures (PNES). We provided an open-ended group psychotherapy program to 10 patients with PNES, including a disorder-specific psychoeducation treatment component in the first 10 weeks. Seizure frequency and questionnaire responses were examined pre- and posttreatment in all 7 of 10 individuals who completed the majority of the psychoeducational sessions. Four individuals experienced no change in seizure frequency; in three of these this was due to a cessation of events at treatment initiation. Two individuals experienced a decline; and one, an increase, in seizure frequency. Significant decreases were reported in posttraumatic (P=0.003) and dissociative (P=0.04) symptoms and emotionally based coping mechanisms (P=0.03). There was also a trend toward improved quality of life (P=0.07). Experience/expression of anger remained stable. Psychoeducation may be an effective method of treating PNES and may improve coping strategies and reduce PNES-associated psychopathology in some patients. Additional controlled studies on larger samples are needed.

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