Web-based project prevents epilepsy-related depression

December 4, 2012

Emory researchers announced results of a new study that has proven successful in the prevention of depression in people diagnosed with epilepsy.

is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in people with epilepsy. It affects between 32 and 48 percent of people with the disease. Depression is known to have more of an impact on quality of life than frequent seizures.

A team of researchers at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University led a study that applied a revised version of a web- and phone-based method focused on preventing, rather than .

Led by Nancy Thompson, PhD, MPH, associate professor of behavioral sciences and health education, the study, called Project UPLIFT (Using Practice and Learning to Increase Favorable Thoughts), provides an opportunity for patients to learn depression prevention and stress management skills while incorporating techniques to identify and replace and feelings.

"UPLIFT is based on mindfulness and cognitive therapy. Our findings show that by using this revised version of UPLIFT, we are able to prevent depression, reduce seizures and improve quality of life, all at a relatively low cost," says Thompson. "A further benefit is that the materials are delivered to individuals by telephone or Web, which reduces the for those with limited mobility or those living in rural areas."

UPLIFT works primarily as a "house call" intervention for patients. People dealing with epilepsy often experience barriers such as transportation, frequent seizures and feelings of isolation. UPLIFT targets these barriers by providing home-based prevention tools. Patients can complete on-line modules that raise awareness of the triggers for depression. They can also phone-in to group sessions led by trained facilitators with epilepsy and managed by certified clinicians.

"When a group is moderated by someone with first hand experience, the discussion becomes much more effective, yielding greater results," says Thompson.

The results have proven to be greater indeed. Among those recruited to participate, the incidence of major depression and depressive symptoms were significantly reduced. Participants increased their knowledge and skills for preventing depression, allowing them to incorporate positive techniques to replace negative feelings. They were ultimately able to make clearer decisions about epilepsy treatment and other aspects of life.

Interventions from this study could be easily adapted to other disparity populations who suffer from elevated rates of depression.

The study will be presented Dec. 4, 2012, at the American Society's 66th annual meeting in San Diego, California.

Explore further: Antidepressants may lead to fewer seizures in people with epilepsy

Related Stories

Antidepressants may lead to fewer seizures in people with epilepsy

December 3, 2012
(HealthDay)—Besides helping to boost mood, antidepressants may also reduce seizure frequency for people with epilepsy, a new study suggests.

Mindfulness reduces anxiety and depression in cancer patients

June 11, 2012
When being diagnosed with cancer, people will naturally worry about their future, their family and about dying. Actually, no less than 35-40% of cancer patients suffer from significant anxiety and depression symptoms. An ...

Recommended for you

Depression changes structure of the brain, study suggests

July 21, 2017
Changes in the brain's structure that could be the result of depression have been identified in a major scanning study.

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

July 21, 2017
A new study links the capacity to feel a variety of upbeat emotions to better health.

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

Study finds gene variant increases risk for depression

July 20, 2017
A University of Central Florida study has found that a gene variant, thought to be carried by nearly 25 percent of the population, increases the odds of developing depression.

In making decisions, are you an ant or a grasshopper?

July 20, 2017
In one of Aesop's famous fables, we are introduced to the grasshopper and the ant, whose decisions about how to spend their time affect their lives and future. The jovial grasshopper has a blast all summer singing and playing, ...

Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan

July 20, 2017
Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about equally active as other people your age?

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.