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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

The Excitable Brain: What Every Clinician Should Know About Epilepsy

by Marilyn S. Miller, PhD 6 CE Credits

Although epilepsy is a common neurological disorder affecting millions of people, it is one of the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed neurological disorders, in part, because of its multiple types and varying presentations. Often patients are diagnosed with psychiatric illness or attentional disorders before a diagnosis of seizure disorder is considered. Yet, early detection is crucial in limiting repeated seizures that result in cognitive and neurobehavioral changes.This course reviews the various types of seizure disorders and syndromes. Procedures for diagnosing seizures are presented, including neuropsychological evaluation as well as Wada testing, cortical stimulation mapping, and functional neuroimaging.  Special emphasis is placed on neurocognitive and neurobehavioral sequelae of complex partial seizures. Also of focus is the role of neuropsychological assessment in epilepsy diagnosis and in pre-/post-surgical evaluation. Further, differential diagnoses including psychogenic non-epileptic seizures are discussed.


Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 6 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Introduction
  • History of Epilepsy: Myths, Treatment and the Development of Stereotypes
  • Epileptic Seizure vs. Epilepsy: Definitions and Distinctions
  • Current Epidemiology
  • Etiology of Epilepsy and Seizures
  • Classification of Seizure Disorders
  • Medical Diagnostics of Epilepsy
  • Risk for Psychopathology
  • The Neuropsychological Presentation of Epilepsy
  • Choosing the Appropriate Neuropsychological Battery in Evaluating Epilepsy
  • The Neuropsychological Presentation of Epilepsy: Assessment Profiles
  • Treatment of Epilepsy: A Brief Overview
  • Neuropsychologist’s Role in Working with Epilepsy Surgery Candidates
  • Outcomes for Epilepsy Surgery Patients: Medical and Neuropsychological
  • Non-epileptic Seizures
  • Psychological Treatment for Psychogenic Non-epileptic Seizures
  • Conclusion
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Articulate 5 major changes to the classification system on seizures.
  • Summarize research findings on the neurocognitive and neurobehavioral sequelae in patients with epilepsy, including listing at least 5 common anti-epileptic medications (AEDs) and their possible side-effects.
  • Describe the relationship between epilepsy, psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, and 3 prevalent psychiatric disorders (e.g.,depression, anxiety, personality disorders) and other possible co-morbid psychiatric conditions.
  • Recognize the 7 important domains in neuropsychological testing in this population and identify at least 10 measures commonly used in the neuroassessment of epileptic patients worldwide.
  • Utilize the data from assessment profiles of 6 sample cases referred for neuropsychological evaluation with a differential diagnosis of possible epilepsy, psychiatric disorder, and other neurologic disorder to guide in their ability to facilitate proper diagnosis and clinically advocate for patients within an interdisciplinary model.