Psychiatric comorbidities in epilepsy: Identification and treatment

Irene García-Morales, Pilar De La Peña Mayor, Andrés M. Kanner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Introduction: The relationship between epilepsy and psychiatric disorders, as well as their reciprocal influence, has been confirmed in several studies. The diagnosis of these psychiatric comorbidities becomes particularly complex, for clinical manifestations vary and patients may not fulfil the criteria of traditional diagnostic classifications. Results: Mood disorders are the more frequent conditions associated with epilepsy, followed by anxiety, attention-deficit, psychotic and personality disorders. Patients with focal epilepsies, and mainly those with temporal and frontal lobe epilepsy, have a greater incidence of depression, anxiety or psychosis, compared with the general population. For a longtime, patients and physicians tended to focus solely on the control of epileptic seizures, while disregarding the presence of comorbid psychiatric symptoms and disorders. Recognition of their negative impact in the life of patients with epilepsy in recent years has highlighted the need for their early identification with a careful psychiatric history or, at the least, to screen for the presence of psychiatric symptoms with objective scales. Furthermore, the identification of psychiatric symptoms plays an important role in the choice of antiepileptic drugs as some are known to have positive or negative psychotropic effects. Conclusion: An early diagnosis of comorbid psychiatric disorders and a multidisciplinary approach in the evaluation and management of these patients result in the selection of an optimal comprehensive treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S15-S25
Issue number6 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Psychiatric comorbidities
  • Psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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