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Exploring the Benefits of CBT for Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures: Becky Tilahun, PhD

The clinical psychologist at Cleveland Clinic discussed the potential of using cognitive behavioral therapy for treatment of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures on cognitive behavioral therapy. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 2 minutes

"Based on their individual circumstances and their logistical barriers, we may be able to be flexible with them in terms of the type of program that we offer. We need to continue to test different ways of delivering care for our patients.”

To address the psychological origin of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES), Becky Tilahun, PhD, and colleagues retrospectively evaluated whether Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-informed psychotherapy (CBTip) could have a positive impact on this patient group. Previous research has alluded that psychological counseling can be an effective intervention for PNES management and addressing the underlying psychiatric symptoms.

A total of 160 patients who met inclusion criteria were enrolled and attended a CBTip program for a minimum of 7 visits within 90 days. In this first analysis, there was no significant change in seizure frequency, depression, anxiety, and quality of life variables at the end of the 90-day period. The second analysis included a flexible treatment schedule, where patients received CBTip for up to 1 year. When comparing baseline scores with those after the 90-day to 1-year treatment period, those enrolled for a longer period of time showed significant improvement in seizure frequency, anxiety, and depression.

These data, presented at American Epilepsy Society (AES) Annual Meeting, December 3-7, 2021, highlight the benefits CBT may bring to this patient population. Tilahun, clinical psychologist, Cleveland Clinic, sat with NeurologyLive® to provide an outline of the study and some of the most notable takeaways clinicians should be aware of.

For more coverage of AES 2021, click here.

REFERENCE
Tilahun B, Thompson N, Sankary L, Laryea F, Trunick C. Outcomes in the treatment of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) with CBTip: improvement in seizure frequency, mood, and quality of life. Presented at 2021 AES Annual Meeting; December 3-7, 2021. Abstract 3.256