August 11, 2022

Third-Wave Psychotherapies to Promote Mental Health in Epilepsy: An Updated Systematic Review

Abstract found on PubMed

Purpose/objective: Research on third-wave cognitive behavioral therapies has burgeoned over the last ten years. However, questions remain about the effectiveness of these therapies for people with epilepsy. This article provides an up-to-date review of the current evidence-base.

Methods: Following protocol registration (PROSPERO CRD42021269882), two reviewers searched six databases (from inception until 1 March 2022) for mindfulness and acceptance interventions targeted at mental health in adults with epilepsy. The reporting quality of included studies was rated (QualSyst tool) and standardized mean group differences (Hedges’ g) with 95% confidence intervals and p values calculated. Results were narratively synthesized based on therapy characteristics and mental health outcome.

Results: Eleven randomized controlled trials, involving 941 adults with chronic epilepsy, were included. All studies were of sound methodological quality. Third-wave therapies were typically delivered in a group format although varied in their face-to-face, telephone, and online learning options. Programs evaluating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, or elements of both, outperformed wait-listed controls or usual care, although individual variability in treatment response was evident (grange = -0.11-2.28).

Conclusions: Acceptance techniques and mindfulness practice may bring mental health benefits for some people living with epilepsy, but do not have consistent results for everyone. Patient diversity and preferences need to be factored into effective third-wave approaches for this cohort.