Depression in epilepsy

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To review some aspects of the relationship between epilepsy and depression that have recently received increasing attention and may become major research topics in the near future.

Recent findings

Epidemiological studies show that depression and suicide are, in some cases, premorbid symptoms preceding the onset of the epilepsy. Suicide is also three times more frequent in epilepsy than in the general population. Reliable screening instruments for depression and suicidality in patients with epilepsy are now available but data from real life clinical settings are needed to develop shared clinical pathways between neurology and psychiatry. Data in children with epilepsy are still limited although it is well known that, outside epilepsy, almost 50% of adult patients with mood and anxiety disorders have a previous history during childhood. Despite increasing attention to the problem, the additional stigma associated with mental health problems still represents one of the major barriers to prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Summary

New studies will focus on the development of shared clinical pathways between neurology and psychiatry for mood disorders and suicide prevention. New global campaigns on the double stigma will support this process in areas where psychiatric comorbidities are still underdiagnosed and undertreated.

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