A research study published in the “Epilepsia” medical journal has revealed a new finding about children and teen patients. Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that can originate in any area of the brain. It is sometimes accompanied by serious mental health disturbances. Because of this, child psychiatry specialists are often involved in the assessment of these patients. That’s why psychiatrists at the Children’s National Medical Center in D.C. had the opportunity to notice that certain patients tend to have the most severe problems with depression and behavioral problems.
Forty children were evaluated to see if they were candidates for epilepsy surgery (since they did not respond to medication). Based on professional evaluation and questionnaires filled out by the parents, the researchers were able to identify patients with the most severe psychiatric difficulties. Overall, only 20 to 40 percent of children with chronic epilepsy usually have any mental illness. However, almost 80 percent of the children in this study who had temporal lobe epilepsy were also suffering from mental health problems that impacted their quality of life. This finding could make a difference in assessing the risks and benefits of surgery for children with epilepsy.