Epilepsy Epilepsy
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Epilepsy Self-Management Tools

CDC calls on the epilepsy community to help spread the word about Managing Epilepsy Well Network programs and tools and to support them in their local communities.

New research from CDC’s Managing Epilepsy Well (MEW) Network finds that community-based treatments and web-based tools can improve health outcomes in people with epilepsy. The new studies have been published in the November 2010 issue of Epilepsy & Behavior, for Epilepsy Awareness month.

One of the most common neurological disorders, epilepsy affects about 2 million people in the United States. Despite advances in treatment, many people with epilepsy continue to face difficulties managing their disorder, and they often struggle with depression and feeling isolated and stigmatized. MEW Network researchers found that a phone- and Internet-based depression treatment called UPLIFT (Using Practice and Learning to Increase Favorable Thoughts), significantly reduced depressive symptoms in adults with epilepsy. Another program, called PEARLS (Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives), was found to ease depression symptoms in people with epilepsy through 8 home-visits by trained counselors.

"These studies are major breakthroughs in mental health treatment options for people with epilepsy, and they have the potential to significantly improve quality of life for many people struggling with this disorder," explained Steven Schachter, MD, the journal’s editor-in-chief and a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

November’s issue of Epilepsy & Behavior also presents studies that examined how socio-economic status may affect one’s ability to manage epilepsy as well as comments from interviews with national and international experts in chronic disease self-management. In a related editorial, the authors from CDC call on the epilepsy community to help spread the word about these new programs and to support them in their local communities "to help support and empower people with epilepsy to not just live well, but to thrive."