Suicidality and epilepsy: A neuropsychobiological perspective

Hrvoje Hecimovic, Jay Salpekar, Andres M. Kanner, John J. Barry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


People with epilepsy (PWE) are at increased risk of experiencing suicidal ideation, displaying suicidal behavior, and committing suicide than the general population. The relationship between suicidality and epilepsy is complex and multifactorial in which operant pathogenic mechanisms include epilepsy-related variables, personal and familial psychiatric history, and iatrogenic effects. Furthermore, a bidirectional relationship between suicidality and epilepsy has suggested the existence of common neurobiological pathogenic mechanisms operant in both conditions and including disturbances of several neurotransmitters, in particular, serotonin (5HT), norepinephrine (NE), glutamate (GTE), and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and disturbances of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA), which, in turn, can result in abnormal secretion of some of these neurotransmitters. The purpose of this article is to review these common neurobiological pathogenic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety disorder
  • Glutamate
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary axis
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Serotonin receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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