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Epilepsy Behav. 2005 Nov;7(3):325-35. Epub 2005 Aug 15.

The role of serotonin in impulsive and aggressive behaviors associated with epilepsy-like neuronal hyperexcitability in the amygdala.

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  • 1Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Baylor University, One Bear Place No. 97334, Waco, TX 76798-7334, USA.


Neuronal hyperexcitability in limbic areas, especially the amygdala, is a significant underlying mechanism associated with complex partial seizures (CPS). CPS may be comorbid with emotional disturbances, especially major mood disorders, anxiety, and aggression. Anticonvulsant medications such as phenytoin are also mood-stabilizing, and have been used for treatment of behavioral dyscontrol in impulsive aggressive individuals. Because the amygdala has important functional roles in epilepsy, emotion, and behavioral control, there may be common biological mechanisms involving neuronal excitability that contribute to both seizure activity and psychopathology. This review examines physiological mechanisms in the amygdala that regulate neuronal excitability and discusses how this may underlie, in part, disturbances in emotional behavior.

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