Children and Young People with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy More Likely to Have Mental Health Problems

Posted Feb 7 2017 in Conditions related to epilepsy

Young people with temporal lobe epilepsy are more likely to have mental health conditions than those with other types of epilepsy, a new study published in the scientific journal Epilepsy and Behavior suggests.

According to the authors Dr William Schraegle and Dr Jeffrey Titus, these findings reinforce the relationship between depression and temporal lobe epilepsy.

In order to determine whether the region of the brain causing the epilepsy (i.e. the seizure focus) had an impact on rates of psychiatric conditions, the researchers looked at data from 132 children and adolescents aged between six and 18 years with either generalised or partial epilepsy. Those with partial epilepsy had either frontal lobe epilepsy or temporal lobe epilepsy.

The researchers measured the rates of depression, anxiety and withdrawal behaviours using two questionnaires: the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC-2), a measure of a caregiver’s perceptions of a child’s emotional and behavioural functioning, and the Quality of Life in Childhood Epilepsy (QOLCE) scale.

The results showed that almost half of the children (41%) had evidence of a psychiatric condition.  The rates of these conditions were similar between children with generalised epilepsy and those with partial epilepsy and did not differ depending on the side of the brain (i.e. left or right) from which the epilepsy arose.

However, when the researchers compared children with temporal lobe epilepsy against those with frontal lobe epilepsy, they found that those with temporal lobe epilepsy had higher rates of depression.

In addition, increased numbers of antiepileptic drugs used and higher depression scores, as assessed by their parents, were also associated with a reduction in health-related quality of life in children with temporal lobe epilepsy.

Children and young people with epilepsy often have additional psychiatric problems such as depression and anxiety associated with their epilepsy. It is important that these problems are examined carefully as they can reduce the patient’s overall quality of life.

Author: Dr Özge Özkaya

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