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Report: "People with epilepsy should be screened for depression"

3 Dec 2003

People with epilepsy
who also have depression percieve their seizures to be more severe
and disruptive than people with similar seizures who
do not have depression, according to research presented to the annual
meeting of the American
Neurological Association

Principal investigator Joyce Cramer told the meeting that the research
team were seeking to determine the relationship between depressive symptoms
and seizure severity, following an earlier study showing that people
with epilepsy were more likely to have mood disorders than the general

In a study of 683
adults with epilepsy, 21.4 per cent were categorised
having severe depression, 9.5 per cent having mild to moderate depression
and 57.2 per cent of those questioned had no depression.

Patients' reports of seizure severity were, the researcher said, significantly
related to the severity of depression. Their reported seizure severity
was rated on a Seizure Severity Scale (SSQ). People with severe depression
had an average SSQ score of 4.99, those with mild to moderate depression
had an average SSQ score of 4.54 and those with no depression had an
average SSQ score of 4.19.

The researchers also found that people with severe depression found
their ability to recover from seizures worse than people who did not
have depression.

Ms Cramer told the meeting:

"The pervasive
influence of depressive symptoms on reports of seizure activity suggests
people with epilepsy should be screened for depression,
and treated as needed."