Rethinking Seizure Care Blog

Epilepsy and Behavior: Does Epilepsy Cause Behavioral Disorders?

Posted by RSC Diagnostics on Sep 11, 2020

Young depressed woman thinking about her problems

Many people have wondered if epilepsy has any correlation to behavioral disorders. Research has shown there may be correlation between temporal lobe epilepsy and personality and behavior disorders. A study published in the November 2016 issue of Clinical Edge looked at the link between those who have epilepsy and behavioral disorders. The study found that young adults who suffered from epilepsy were more likely to have neurodevelopmental disorders and issues with their behavior.

What Did the Study Find?

The researchers in the study looked at emergency, outpatient, and hospital admissions of patients with epilepsy, migraine, or lower extremity fractures (LEF). Those with epilepsy were the experimental group and those with LEFs and migraines were the control groups. Over the course of 13 years, the researchers looked at 29,139 young adults who were between 19 and 25 years old. The breakdown of the study was 5,666 patients with epilepsy, 17,507 with migraines, and 5,966 with lower extremity fractures. The study discovered that those who had epilepsy had a much higher rate of behavioral health issues than the control groups did.

What Causes the Behavioral Disorders?

It is not entirely clear what causes the issues when it comes to epilepsy and behavior disorders. In some cases behavioral disorders might be the result of:

  • parental anxiety about their child’s seizures or other issues in the home. 
  • lack of opportunity and sociocultural issues.
  • an underlying issue with the brain.
  • a head injury.

Types of Behavior Disorders

The term “behavior disorder” is used as a catchall name for many different types of issues that a person might be suffering. Mood disorders can also occur. A patient may have anxiety or depression, or a bipolar disorder. Many patients might suffer from one or more of these issues because of psychological concerns about their health and seizures, which can lead to things such as anxiety and depressive disorders.

Some behavior disorders, such as depression, can lead to other behavior issues. For example, depression could lead to alcohol and drug use, which may lead to addiction. Others might exhibit obsessive compulsive behavior, which is a type of anxiety disorder. Repeated behaviors, which the person performs to reduce their anxiety, are not healthy coping mechanisms. In some cases, it is a combination of different obsessions and compulsions.

Recognizing Problems

Those with epilepsy and behavior disorders may not always be able to recognize problems in their own life. It is important for patients to self-reflect and examine their feelings for anxiousness, irritability, depression, panic and the like that are not explained by seizures. Tracking your behaviors and moods could reveal patterns. Take the time to speak with your doctors to let them know about how you are feeling. They should be able to direct you toward helpful treatments such as medication or counseling or complementary treatments.

If you or a loved one have epilepsy and behavior issues, seeking treatment for those behavioral issues can be an important step toward improving the quality of life.



Topics: Living with Epilepsy