An investigation into the psychosocial effects of the postictal state

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To determine whether postictal cognitive and behavioral impairment (PCBI) is independently associated with specific aspects of a patient's psychosocial health in those with epilepsy and nonepileptic events.


We used the University of Calgary's Comprehensive Epilepsy Clinic prospective cohort database to identify patients reporting PCBI. The cohort was stratified into those diagnosed with epilepsy or nonepileptic events at first clinic visit. Univariate comparisons and stepwise multiple logistic regression with backward elimination method were used to identify factors associated with PCBI for individuals with epilepsy and those with nonepileptic events. We then determined if PCBI was independently associated with depression and the use of social assistance when controlling for known risk factors.


We identified 1,776 patients, of whom 1,510 (85%) had epilepsy and 235 had nonepileptic events (13%). PCBI was independently associated with depression in those with epilepsy (odds ratio [OR] 1.73; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06–2.83; p = 0.03) and with the need for social assistance in those with nonepileptic events (OR 4.81; 95% CI 2.02–11.42; p < 0.001).


PCBI appears to be significantly associated with differing psychosocial outcomes depending on the patient's initial diagnosis. Although additional research is necessary to examine causality, our results suggest that depression and employment concerns appear to be particularly important factors for patients with PCBI and epilepsy and nonepileptic attacks, respectively.

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