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Epilepsy Behav. 2003 Dec;4 Suppl 4:S26-30.

Psychiatric comorbidity, health, and function in epilepsy.

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Department of Neurology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA.


Epilepsy is a chronic condition that has complex effects on social, vocational, and psychological function. Several psychiatric disorders have been shown to have increased prevalence in persons with epilepsy compared to the general population. Depression appears to be the most common psychiatric comorbidity, but anxiety and other diagnoses have not been extensively investigated. Several studies have found that depression or psychological distress may be the strongest predictors of health-related quality of life, even including seizure frequency and severity, employment, or driving status. Despite the high prevalence and adverse effects of comorbid psychiatric disorders in epilepsy, very little is known about optimal treatment strategies, or even the efficacy of standard treatments. Further research is needed to increase understanding of the mechanisms of psychiatric illness in epilepsy, the effects of depression and anxiety on long-term clinical outcomes, and the most effective treatments.

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