Study: Psychotherapy reduces seizures

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  Contact: David Orenstein   401-863-1862

Researchers have shown that behavior therapy-informed psychotherapy, combined with medication, can reduce seizures by 59 percent compared to standard care.

Dr. Curt LaFrance
“... we are able to significantly reduce the number of seizures, as well as the frequency and severity of co-morbid symptoms.”

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Results from a new clinical trial led by Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital neurologist Dr. W. Curt LaFrance Jr. indicate that a form of psychotherapy can provide significant benefits for the 400,000 Americans who suffer from psychogenic nonepileptic seizures.

In a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, LaFrance and colleagues report that cognitive behavior therapy-informed psychotherapy reduced seizures by 51 percent and also reduced other symptoms such as depression. That therapy, combined with medication, reduced seizures by 59 percent compared to standard care.

“Patients with PNES often suffer from repeated seizures, as well as depression, anxiety, and other behavioral and social issues, often the the point of severely impacting their quality of life,” said LaFrance, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior in the Warren Alpert Medical School and director of neuropsychiatry and behavioral neurology at Rhode Island Hospital. “This study demonstrates that through treatments with the cognitive behavioral informed-psychotherapy workbook, we are able to significantly reduce the number of seizures, as well as the frequency and severity of co-morbid symptoms.”

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