Psychiatric disturbances in idiopathic epilepsy


Saloua Mrabet
Syrine Belguith
Imen Kacem
Yosra Zgueb
Rim Jenhani
Uta Ouali
Amina Nasri
Istabrak Abdelkefi
Mouna Ben Djebara
Rabaa Jomli
Amina Gargouri Berrechid
Riadh Gouider



Background: The relationship between epilepsy and psychiatric disorders has been highlighted for a long time. Idiopathic epilepsy is known to have a benign course in most cases. However, the association of psychiatric disturbances could worsen the disease outcome.

Objective: we aimed to study the frequency of psychiatric symptoms in patients with idiopathic epilepsy and to assess the determinant factors in the patient group with these manifestations.

Methods: In one-year prospective study, consecutive patients diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy were included. Those with a known psychiatric follow-up or with post ictal psychiatric disturbances were excluded. Psychiatric symptoms were evaluated with the Neurological Disorders Depression Inventory for Epilepsy, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder - 7 and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Scale. Demographic and clinical data were collected and analyzed.

Results: Among 101 consecutive patients with idiopathic epilepsy, psychiatric symptoms were diagnosed in 61% of them. Anxiety (36.6%), psychotic features (21%) and depression (15.8 %) were the most commonly found psychiatric manifestations. Female gender (p < 10-3) and longer duration of epilepsy (p = 0.046) were significantly associated with occurrence of psychiatric disturbances. Patients under Carbamazepine and Valproic acid showed a lower frequency of depression (respectively p = 0.018 and p = 0.003).

Conclusions: Occurrence of psychiatric disturbances was frequent in idiopathic epilepsy, with psychotic manifestations and anxiety being the most common of them. Female gender and long disease course were the main determining factors of psychiatric manifestations and should be considered in management of idiopathic epilepsy.


epilepsy, idiopathic, psychosis, anxiety, depression, Tunisians



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