The psychiatric consequences of epilepsy

The prevalence of psychiatric morbidity among persons with epilepsy is greater than in the general population, but the increase in prevalence will vary according to the type of epilepsy, the presence and extent of brain damage, and the presence of cognitive and physical disability. The more reliable studies are drawn from community samples. Of children between the ages of 5 and 14 years, 29 per cent showed some psychiatric disorder compared with 6.8 per cent of the general population. The figure rose to 58 per cent when brain damage was present.(4) Pond and Bidwell(5) surveyed 14 general practices and reported a prevalence of 29 per cent in adults, increasing to over 50 per cent in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. Neurotic disability accounted for the great majority of cases. Psychiatric morbidity is over-represented in clinic attenders and in patients with partial epilepsy. (6)

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