Management of psychiatric and neurological comorbidities in epilepsy

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The treatment of epileptic seizure disorders is not restricted to the achievement of seizure-freedom, but must also include the management of comorbid medical, neurological, psychiatric and cognitive comorbidities. Psychiatric and neurological comorbidities are relatively common and often co-exist in people with epilepsy (PWE). For example, depression and anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric comorbidities in PWE, and they are particularly common in PWE who also have a neurological comorbidity, such as migraine, stroke, traumatic brain injury or dementia. Moreover, psychiatric and neurological comorbodities often have a more severe impact on the quality of life in patients with treatment-resistant focal epilepsy than do the actual seizures. Epilepsy and psychiatric and neurological comorbidities have a complex relationship, which has a direct bearing on the management of both seizures and the comorbidities: the comorbidities have to be factored into the selection of antiepileptic drugs, and the susceptibility to seizures has to be considered when choosing the drugs to treat comorbidities. The aim of this Review is to highlight the complex relationship between epilepsy and common psychiatric and neurological comorbidities, and provide an overview of how treatment strategies for epilepsy can positively and negatively affect these comorbidities and vice versa.

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