Cochrane review evaluates the evidence for treating epilepsy by using psychological methods to reduce seizure frequency and improve quality of life.

Here’s what was found with respect to seizure frequency.


  • No effect on seizure frequency.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

  • 1 study reported no significant effect on seizure frequency.
  • Another found statistically significant reduction in seizure frequency as well as in seizure index (product of seizure frequency and seizure duration in seconds).

Galvanic skin response biofeedback

  • 1 small study reported a significant reduction in seizure frequency.

Other treatments

  • 2 studies of combined relaxation and behavior therapy, 1 of EEG biofeedback, and 4 of educational interventions did not provide sufficient information to assess their effect on seizure frequency.

The bottom line?
The evidence is pretty thin.

The authors concluded, “In view of methodological deficiencies and limited number of individuals studied, we have found no reliable evidence to support the use of these treatments.”

This article also discusses other potential benefits (quality of life, coping, etc) of psychological treatments.

7/24/08 21:41 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.