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Depression more likely amongst people with epilepsy

18 December, 2002

A report has shown that depression is more likely in people with epilepsy than in people with asthma or people with no "chronic" conditions.

Researchers from Long Island Jewish Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in New York, led by Dr Alan Ettinger, surveyed 775 people with epilepsy, 395 people with asthma and 341 people with no chronic conditions.

The results showed that 35 per cent of people with epilepsy had reported depression in the previous 12 months, compared to 22 per cent of those with asthma.

Nearly 44 per cent of the depressed epilepsy patients reported delays in taking their medication because of concerns of the side effects, compared to 19 per cent of those without depression.

Dr Ettinger commented:

"We epileptologists have been preaching about the importance of recognizing depression in epilepsy patients, but general clinicians argue that tertiary epilepsy patients have little to do with the patients in general community neurology practices, and that depression syndrome is just a statement of having any chronic disorder."