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The Biopsychosocial Approach at UCLA
What is the Biopsychosocial Approach?
The biopsychosocial approach is a holistic model where biological, psychological and social factors are all included in the evaluation and treatment of a patient.
Here at the Adolescent Epilepsy Center we understand that seizures are only one piece of the puzzle that is epilepsy. There are many other conditions or “comorbidities” that are associated with epilepsy. These may include:
- ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Intellectual disability
- Learning disability
- Side effects from medications
- Social problems and school difficulties
All of these are just as important as seizure control to a person’s quality of life.
We use the latest technology (video EEG monitoring, MRI, PET scan, SPECT scan, MEG scan, Phase 2 invasive monitoring and genetic testing) to properly diagnose the type of seizures and epilepsy. With the correct diagnosis we can then use a variety of treatment strategies including anti-seizure medication management, diet therapy, medical devices and surgery.
Our social worker and occupational therapist are focusing on supporting our patients and their families in numerous ways. This may include sharing information about topics such as support services (i.e. Regional Center), advocacy groups and educational programs and resources to help educate family, friends or teachers . This may also be providing practical help such as finding a job, support at school, applying for college or support in activities of daily living.
It is important for everyone with epilepsy to know that they are not alone. Much can be learned simply by hearing how others cope with their challenges. We are bringing our patients together for monthly support groups not only for our adolescents but for their caregivers as well. In today’s world of social media and crowdsourcing, it is still essential for face to face contact with people who are the same age, facing similar challenges. We will be hosting workshops in the community to help educate the public about things like IEP (Individualized Educational Program) and special needs trusts. Our goal is to educate, as well as treat.
Our pediatric specialists work closely with adult specialists to ensure the transition into adulthood is smooth and seamless. For some that may mean going to college or getting a job, for others it may mean arranging conservatorship or guardianship. We are also partnering with physicians in the community to find the best fit for each adolescent as they begin to see adult specialists.
We are here to help our patients live the fullest lives possible!