A community study of the presence of anxiety disorder in people with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Behav. 2007 May 24; [Epub ahead of print] Related Articles, Links
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A community study of the presence of anxiety disorder in people with epilepsy.

Mensah SA, Beavis JM, Thapar AK, Kerr MP.

Academic Department of Neuropsychiatry, Whitchurch Hospital, Cardiff, Wales, UK.

Anxiety represents a major problem for people with epilepsy, and it is important to understand why it arises and how to reduce its potential debilitating and adverse effects. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of anxiety in a community-identified sample of people with epilepsy and to identify which demographic and clinical factors are most closely associated with anxiety and which factors predict the presence of anxiety among people with epilepsy. Adults with epilepsy in the community (n=515) were identified through primary care records and sent validated questionnaires, which included the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). The mailout also included items on demographic and clinical variables. The prevalence of anxiety (HADS score >11) in this sample was 20.5% (95% CI: 16.9-24.1%) and was associated with a current history of depression, perceived side effects of antiepileptic medication, lower educational attainment, chronic ill health, female gender, and unemployment. It was not associated with the duration of epilepsy. The findings from this study suggest that anxiety disorders in a community population with epilepsy are most strongly predicted by factors independent of epilepsy-related variables, with the exception of patient-reported side effects. It is important to be aware of these factors when evaluating an individual with epilepsy.

PMID: 17532266 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]