People with epilepsy seem to have a 43% higher chance of experiencing depression than the general population, according to a Canadian study (Fuller-Thomson & Brennenstuhl, 2008). This news was just recently covered by Science Daily, who pointed out that the figure is almost double the prevalence rate within the general population. The research also revealed that people with epilepsy of an advanced age, visible ethnic minority, or who were female or with less access to food, were even more likely to suffer from depression. The study found that 38% of of the depressed subgroup with epilepsy in this study had not seen a mental health practitioner in the past year. Depression can have devastating effects on both health and quality of life, yet is usually quite treatable.
The study was conducted on records from the Canadian Community Health Survey conducted in 2000 and 2001. The research also concluded that, “Visible minority and older age appear to be unique risk factors for depression in those with epilepsy as compared to those without” (Fuller-Thomson & Brennenstuhl, 2008). A representative sample of 781 records of survey participants with epilepsy were used to analyze prevalence of depression, health service use by patient-participants and correlations of epilepsy and demographics with depression. “Correlates of depression among those without epilepsy (n = 126,104) were also determined. Chi-square analyses, t-tests, prevalence ratios, and a logistic regression were conducted” (Fuller-Thomson & Brennenstuhl, 2008).
If you or someone you know has epilepsy, the best idea is to request an evaluation for depression and follow up with treatment by a mental health professional. Therapy and/or medications are very effective treatments. It’s recommended by the researchers that medical professionals assess their patients with epilepsy for depression.
- Fuller-Thomson, E. and Brennenstuhl, S. The association between depression and epilepsy in a nationally representative sample. Epilepsia, 2008, DOI: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01803.x on Wiley Blackwell web site; http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121430384/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
- Depression twice as likely in seizure sufferers, Science Daily, Mar 17, 2009, web site; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316133431.htm
© Copyright 2009 by Jolyn Wells-Moran, PhD, MSW, therapist in Seattle, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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