People who are suffering from epilepsy face a wide range of challenges on a daily basis. In fact, epileptics could be facing some issues that they never imagined. A recent study examined how epilepsy could be a factor in the cause of patients returning to the hospital with psychiatric issues, even patients who may have control over their seizures. Doctors are not consistently providing patients with the necessary advice when it comes to the potential risk of mood disorders.
How Was the Study Completed?
The study, published in Neurology, utilized the Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD). They wanted to learn whether admissions to the hospital based on epilepsy have a higher readmission risk for mood disorders compared to admissions for other medical causes. The information used was from 2013 and it accounted for 15 million hospital discharges, which is about half of all of the hospitalizations for the year.
They were looking at adults who were between 30 and 85 years old. Children were not included in the study. They had an epilepsy group of 58,278 people. They compared this to 215,821 people who had been admitted for stroke. Additionally, the researchers looked at 973,078 people who had been admitted to the hospital for common illnesses. In this case, common illnesses were considered to be things such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and urinary tract infection.
Researchers used a standard coding system, typically used to describe why patients might need to be seen by a doctor. The researchers made sure to use codes that were specific for epilepsy as a means to identify that group of patients. They had several different codes they could use to document the reason patients ended up coming back to the hospital, including various mood disorders.
The researchers looked at the readmission rates for 30, 60 and 90 days. They then determined how often the patients were admitted for the main cause, such as epilepsy, stroke or other medical conditions. Next, they determined what the risk was for readmissions for a mood disorder.
The Results of the Study
The results concluded that those who suffered from epilepsy were almost twice as likely to be readmitted to the hospital within a year for a mood disorder, such as bipolar disorder or depression when compared with patients who had a stroke or other medical illnesses. Also, they noted that the average age of patients who were admitted for epilepsy tended to be younger than those who were admitted for stroke or other medical conditions.
Epilepsy is not the only condition that increases the risk of returning to the hospital because of mood disorders. Other potential risks include those who are admitted first for known psychiatric problems and those who have substance abuse issues. The most common psychiatric disorder in those who were admitted was depression.
What Does this Mean?
Epilepsy physicians need to consider far more than just the seizures and epilepsy that their patients are suffering when providing advice and treatment. They need to help their patients and families understand ways that they can potentially control mood disorders that might occur in the future. Living with epilepsy can be a very difficult endeavor and it is natural that patients suffer from psychiatric disorders. However, with proper care and attention, it’s possible to treat those disorders as well as the epilepsy altogether.