Re: Epilepsy in children

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 53, No. 10, December 2011, Page 517 Letters

When I became a neurologist 50 years ago the therapeutic choices available to neurologists were limited. Remember tonics? We neurologists could console ourselves with the knowledge that something good was accomplished for the patient by getting the diagnosis right, even when there was no effective treatment. The patient was not made more ill by the label, and the family knew what to expect.

Times have changed in more ways than one. The July/August article on epilepsy in children [BCMJ 2011;53:279-285] states that one-third of mothers of children with newly diagnosed epilepsy exhibit symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder or major depression. 

Has psychiatry so narrowed the acceptable range of human reaction to stress that new and possibly harmful diagnoses are being made? It may be the case that treatment of the epilepsy will prove more effective than the subsequent management of the labels given the parents. 

Remember, first of all, do no harm.
—Paul Bratty, MD

Paul Bratty, MD,. Re: Epilepsy in children. BCMJ, Vol. 53, No. 10, December, 2011, Page(s) 517 - Letters.

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