The relationship between epilepsy, depression and anxiety has been documented over the years. Now, a new study provides a better understanding of why this occurs and suggests the characteristics of the seizure activity may predict the development of psychiatric symptoms.

Individuals experiencing relatively frequent, short duration seizures appear to be at higher risk of developing mental health issues, report the authors of the study appearing in the journal Epilepsia.

“Traditionally, epilepsy focused in specific lobes of the brain was considered more likely to have psychiatric consequences,” says study author Wilhelmina Swinkels, “but our work shows that more frequent or acute seizure activity is more likely to be the culprit.”

According the study, patients with more frequent seizures and a shorter history of seizure activity are more prone to develop psychiatric disturbances.

“Despite the fact that there appears to be a connection between epilepsy and psychiatric disorders, our research tools are still evolving and are not able to account for all of the factors involved in this complex process,” says Swinkels.

“Continued investigation of this relationship is required to truly understand it.”

Source: Blackwell Publishing