A new Swedish study has explored the long-term social skills of children with epilepsy. Even children who were identified as ‘well functioning’ at the time of diagnosis went on to develop social, emotional and behavioural problems
The study looked at the development of 31 children and young people with epilepsy. The study followed them for 10 years after they were diagnosed in 1997. At the time, all the children were classified as well functioning by medical professionals.
Of these 31 children, 32 per cent (around a third) still had active epilepsy a decade after their diagnosis. These children showed attention problems and somatic complaints (distressing physical or bodily symptoms, including pain). Of the youngsters aged under 18, over 85 per cent were having some form of school problems.
Meanwhile, 16 per cent of the children and young people were taking more than one medicine for their epilepsy. The research team found that this increased the possible risk of attention problems and aggression.
The research team suggest more study in this area to learn more about epilepsy and its relationship with other social and psychological problems. According to the team, this should “decrease risk of low self-esteem, social anxiety and depression later in life”. The study findings were published in an online edition of the European Journal of Paediatric Neurology dated 13 February 2014.