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PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e59999. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059999. Epub 2013 Apr 5.

Psychiatric disorders after epilepsy diagnosis: a population-based retrospective cohort study.

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School of Nursing, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.



Psychiatric manifestations after occurrence of epilepsy have often been noted. However, the association between newly diagnosed epilepsy and psychiatric disorders afterward is not completely understood. We conducted two longitudinal cohorts for patients with and without epilepsy to investigate the risk factors and hazard ratios of developing psychiatric disorders after patients were newly diagnosed with epilepsy.


We identified 938 patients with a new diagnosis of epilepsy and 518,748 participants without epilepsy from the National Health Insurance Research Database in 2000-2002 and tracked them until 2008. We compared the incidence of developing psychiatric disorders between the two cohorts, evaluated risk factors and measured the associated hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of developing psychiatric disorders.


The incidences of psychiatric disorders for people with and without epilepsy were 94.1 and 22.6 per 1000 person-years, respectively. After adjusting the covariates, the epilepsy cohort showed the highest risks in mental retardation (HR 31.5, 95% CI 18.9 to 52.4), bipolar disorder (HR 23.5, 95% CI 11.4 to 48.3) and alcohol or drug psychosis (HR 18.8, 95% CI 11.1 to 31.8) among psychiatric complications developed after newly diagnosed epilepsy. The risk increased with epileptic general seizure and frequency of outpatient visits for epilepsy, as well as with emergency room visits and hospitalizations for epilepsy, and with older age. Chronologically, the highest risk occurred in the first year after epilepsy diagnosis (HR 11.4, 95% CI 9.88 to 13.2).


Various psychiatric disorders were demonstrated after newly diagnosed epilepsy and closely related to general seizure and use of medical services for epilepsy. This shows a need for integrated psychiatric care for patients newly diagnosed with epilepsy, especially in the first year.

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