According to a new study, researchers have found that there may be a way to help prevent depression in epileptic women that involves a home-based treatment. This treatment has been shown to lessen depression and lower suicide risks in epileptic women.

The fact is that depression is the most common psychiatric disorder from which epileptics suffer. When researchers reviewed various studies, the results showed that between 32 and 48 percent of people who suffer from depression are experiencing a decline in their quality of life — a higher number than those patients who are experiencing seizures. This fact is significant because it goes a long way toward helping doctors understand how depression and epilepsy affect the family as a whole, motivating them to find a better way to treat depression in epileptics. This information was presented at the American Epilepsy Society’s 66th annual meeting at the San Diego Convention Center.

In what has been referred to as Project UPLIFT, researchers from the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University used a home-based treatment for depression in epileptics that worked in reducing depressive symptoms.

“UPLIFT is based upon mindfulness and cognitive therapy,” says Nancy Thompson, lead researcher of the study. “Our findings show that, using a preventive version of UPLIFT, we are able to prevent depression, reduce seizures and improve quality of life — all at relatively low cost. A further benefit is that the materials are delivered to individuals by telephone or web, which reduces the health disparities for those with limited mobility or those living in rural areas.”

This treatment may help to alleviate the use of antidepressant medications like Paxil and Effexor. Both of those drugs are linked to serious side effects, including violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior in depressed patients as well as birth defects in mothers whose babies are exposed to the drugs while pregnant. Some of the birth defects linked to Paxil and Effexor include PPHN, spina bifida, oral clefts and neural tube defects.