New study highlights need for epilepsy-focused neuropsychiatry services

A new study has demonstrated some of the key priorities that ought to be considered when designing neuropsychiatry services for people with epilepsy.

Led by the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Aston University, this research examined data from 60 patients with epilepsy referred to and assessed within a neuropsychiatry setting, to gauge their needs.

Services like this can aid the assessment and management of behavioural symptoms associated conditions such as epilepsy. However, there has been little research into the clinical characteristics of people with epilepsy who regularly use these services.

Results from this study were published in the medical journal Epilepsy & Behavior, and showed that 86.7% of the group had active epilepsy and were receiving ongoing care from a referring neurologist to help manage their seizures.

The majority had localisation-related forms of epilepsy, with the most common psychiatric issues including major depression, generalised anxiety disorder and nonepileptic attacks, a type of seizure-like event without a specific physical cause.

The researchers concluded: “Our findings confirm the need for the development and implementation of structured care pathways for the neuropsychiatric aspects of epilepsy, with focus on comorbid nonepileptic attacks and affective and anxiety symptoms.”

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