THE TREATMENT OF EPILEPSY: OTHER TREATMENTS AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES

These include hypnosis, aromatherapy, bio-feedback, and acupuncture. The success of these techniques, for which there is little or no scientific evidence of effectiveness, is variable and limited. However, patients may find them of value in giving a sense of control over their bodies and their lives. A new procedure, long-term stimulation of the vagus nerve is at present being evaluated.

General principles-The treatment of epilepsy extends far beyond the prescription of

anti-epileptic medication. It is, of course, important to correctly identify the type of epilepsy and to prescribe the most appropriate anti-epileptic drug to obtain the best possible control of seizures without side-effects. However, for many patients and their families, social and psychological factors far outweigh the problem of preventing or controlling the seizures. Help may best be given through a multi-disciplinary approach, preferably within a specialist clinic with advice from a number of different specialists, including nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Many patients get practical help and support from voluntary associations such as the British Epilepsy Association, and patients should be informed of their address and telephone number.

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