Information about non epileptic seizures and Non Epileptic Attack Disorder.

Mental Health Services and NEAD

By on 6 January 2016 in General

The currently accepted best treatment for NEAD is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). However, accessing treatment can be a very hit and miss affair, depending on where you live. Funding has been cut to the bone for mental health services which means ridiculous things happening, such as one of our members being told that the therapist she had waited months to see couldn’t help as they only treated people with panic attacks! England in particular seems to be particularly hard hit with mental health service budget cuts, except in the London region.  In addition, many therapists do not know what NEAD is, which can cause even more complications. So, what are your options?

1. NHS Mental Health Services: In an ideal world, once you have a definite NEAD diagnosis, you should be referred to a Neuropsychologist, who specialises in helping people with neurologically related disorders such as NEAD. Unfortunately, there are nowhere near enough of them around and waiting lists can be very long. Most often, you will be referred to the mental health services department in your area, where you will most likely be seen by a clinical psychologist. Again, waiting lists are usually months long. Before your appointment, it is worth printing off some information about NEAD, in case the person you see does not know about the condition. If you find that the person you see is unhelpful or dismissive, you have the right to ask to see someone else.
2. CAMHS: If you are under 18, you will most likely be referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health service. Some CAMHS services will only see children between the ages of 16 and 18 if they are in full time education. Unfortunately, the budget cuts for children’s services are just as bad, if not worse, than adult services so long waiting lists are the norm. Again, knowledge about NEAD will most likely be limited so go prepared with information.
3. Going private: If you can afford to, then going private can seem like a good option. However, it is very important that you first check that your therapist knows about NEAD or is at least willing to take the time to learn about it to make sure you get the best possible help for your money. Check that your therapist is accredited and belongs to a recognised association, such as BACP, Association for Coaching etc. Many therapists these days offer their services via Skype so you don’t necessarily have to confine your search for a good therapist to your immediate area.

Getting the right help is very important for helping you to get your seizures under control but you may find you have to fight to get the help you need. We are continuing our work to raise awareness of NEAD amongst health professionals but there is still a long way to go. If you are unsatisfied with your local hospital’s mental health services, then contact PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Services).  If the level of services available in your area is particularly bad; consider writing to your MP.

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