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Psychological disorders

Psychological disorders


Directors:
Lorna Myers, PhD

Program description:
Epilepsy, like many other long-term medical disorders, can affect a person's emotional, psychological, social, and occupational functioning as well as their quality of life.  Adjusting to the new diagnosis of epilepsy and other life changes can be a difficult process for some. Understandably, shifts in mood and emotional functioning are not an uncommon reaction.  Additionally, some patients experience mood changes as a result of seizure activity; this is because electrical discharges in the brain occur in, or close to, brain structures that control emotion and fear.  So, probably as a result of a combination of these reasons mentioned above, depression and anxiety are much more prevalent in patients who have epilepsy than in the average population.  

Detecting depression and anxiety in a patient with epilepsy and starting timely treatment is extremely important.  It requires a team approach between the epileptologists and the psychologists.  Once the diagnosis is made, psychotherapeutic interventions can be very useful in treating the mood problems themselves and in helping the patient and their family in coping better with other aspects of life.  It is also thought that, to a degree, the actual control of epileptic seizures can be improved when emotional distress is treated. Research has shown that managing stress and learning effective coping strategies can have a positive effect on seizure frequency and other health related behaviors. 

Psychotherapy can be supportive in nature, helping the person strengthen healthy coping mechanisms already in use by the person, as well to provide a safe environment where the patient can process his/her reaction to the illness and any secondary changes in his/her life. Additionally, psychotherapy can also teach anxiety reduction and symptom and anger management techniques which can have an important impact on emotional health, as well as personal and professional relationships.  Psychological treatment also focuses on wellness with the aim of improving sleep hygiene, diet, exercise, and other aspects of a person's self-care.  Psychotherapy in our program is conducted by licensed clinical psychologists who have experience working with persons with epilepsy.  Treatment can be provided in either individual or a group setting.

Research activities:
http://nonepilepticseizures.com/epilepsy-psychogenic-NES-events-news-publications.php

Make an appointment:
Services are offered in many of our New York and New Jersey offices.
Talk to your epileptologist about obtaining a referral, or call (914) 428-9213.

Email inquiries: lmyers@epilepsygroup.com

Other resources:
Psychological Associations: 
* International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation: http://www.isst-d.org/
* The American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/
* New Jersey Psychological Association: http://www.psychologynj.org/
* Latino Psychological Association of New Jersey: http://www.lpanj.org/

Psychiatric Association:
* American Psychiatric Association: http://www.psych.org/

Hotlines:
* National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-SUICIDE
* Samaritan Suicide Prevention Hotline 212-673-3000
* Lifenet: 800-543-3638
   Spanish: 877-298-3373
   Asian: 857-990-8585

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