PEARLS for Adults with Epilepsy

Evidence-Based Treatment for Epilepsy-Related Depression

Elderly Woman Sitting in the ParkPEARLS for Adults with Epilepsy was designed to treat major depression, minor depression and dysthymic disorder in adults with epilepsy. Individuals with epilepsy are more likely to be depressed than are individuals in the general population. In fact, studies have shown that between 30% and 50% of individuals with epilepsy experience significant depressive symptoms.

30% - 50% of individuals with epilepsy experience significant depressive symptoms.
Between 2006 and 2009, University of Washington HPRC investigators conducted a randomized controlled trial funded by the CDC to test the effectiveness of the PEARLS Program in all-age adults with epilepsy. Preliminary findings suggest that, as was found in the first PEARLS randomized controlled trial, individuals with epilepsy treated with the PEARLS Program were more likely to experience a reduction in depressive symptoms as compared to those receiving usual care. Final study results have been accepted for publication in Epilepsy and Behavior.

The PEARLS Program is well suited for individuals with epilepsy since many of the factors associated with depression in this population are related to decreases in function, ambulation and social support, and these are some of the main areas targeted in the PEARLS approach .