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Educational needs of epileptologists regarding psychiatric comorbidities of the epilepsies


Aim. Psychiatric disorders are relatively frequent comorbidities in epilepsy and they have an impact on morbidity, mortality, and quality of life. This is a report from the Task Force on Education of the ILAE Commission on Neuropsychiatry based on a survey about educational needs of epileptologists regarding management of the psychiatric comorbidities of epilepsy. Methods. The Task Force designed a quantitative questionnaire to survey the self-perceived confidence of child and adult epileptologists and psychiatrists in managing major psychiatric comorbidities of epilepsy to identify: (1) critical areas of improvement from a list of skills that are usually considered necessary for effective management of these conditions, and (2) the preferred educational format for improving these skills. Results. A total of 211 respondents from 36 different countries participated in the survey. Confidence and usefulness scores suggest that responders would most value education and training in the management of specific clinical scenarios. Child neurologists identified major Axis I disorders, such as mood and anxiety disorders, while adult neurologists identified attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disabilities, and autistic spectrum disorder as key areas. Both adult and child neurologists identified screening skills as the priority. Psychiatrists mainly valued specific training in the management of psychiatric complications of epilepsy surgery or psychiatric adverse events of antiepileptic drugs. Sessions during congresses and face-to-face meetings represent the preferred educational format, while e-learning modules and review papers were chosen by a minority of respondents. Conclusions. Results of this survey identify key areas for improvement in managing the psychiatric comorbidities of epilepsy and suggest specific strategies to develop better training for clinicians involved in epilepsy care.

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