Link between epilepsy and psychiatric symptoms

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Children with epilepsy are more likely to have psychiatric symptoms, with gender a determining factor in their development, says a newly published report. Findings showed that girls had more emotional problems, while boys had more hyperactivity and inattention problems and issues regarding peer relationships.

Previous studies have shown that children with epilepsy are at increased risk of developing behavioural problems and psychiatric disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, there was no clear evidence showing when children or teens with epilepsy may be vulnerable to developing psychiatric issues, or how these issues are affected by gender.

The new study is published online in the Norwegian journal Epilepsia, on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy, and it uses data collected by the Norwegian Health Services Research Centre in a 2002 health profile questionnaire. It found that children with epilepsy had a significantly higher frequency of psychiatric symptoms (38 per cent) compared with the control group (17 per cent), and that boys had a higher risk of psychiatric symptoms than girls in both the epilepsy population and in controls.

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