Lack of social support is a risk factor for developing anxiety and depression one year after being diagnosed with epilepsy, according to results presented at the American Epilepsy Society’s annual meeting in Houston, Texas.
The findings also suggest that epilepsy-related factors such as the number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) a person is prescribed and seizure recurrence also significantly contribute to depression one year after diagnosis.
For the study, the researchers enrolled 153 people who were newly diagnosed with epilepsy. They measured the participants’ level of anxiety and depression at the time they were diagnosed with epilepsy and one year later, using a method called the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS). They also collected information about the participants such as their level of social support, stigma, marital status, education, and employment status.
The results showed that 28% of participants experienced anxiety and 36% experienced depression one year after being diagnosed with epilepsy. The factors contributing to anxiety one year after diagnosis were the level of anxiety at the time of diagnosis and a lack of social support. For depression, the factors included the number of antiepileptic drugs prescribed, seizure recurrence, the level of depression at the time of diagnosis and a lack of social support. The authors did not find any significant correlations between the level of anxiety and depression and marriage, education or employment status.
Anxiety and depression are common in people with epilepsy. They can develop as a side effect of AEDs as well as being part of epilepsy itself. Identifying factors contributing to the development of anxiety and depression can help doctors better diagnose and treat these conditions.
Author: Dr Özge Özkaya
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There is a substantial delay in diagnosing and treating infantile spasms in children with epilepsy, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society, in Huston, Texas.
This may be due to lack of awareness of infantile spasms amongst healthcare professionals, and it could have “catastrophic“ consequences.
According to the researchers, “There is a desperate need for effective interventions to increase basic familiarity with infantile spasms among healthcare providers.”
For the study, the team led by Dr Shaun Hussain, at the University of California, surveyed the parents of 100 children with past or current infantile spasms.
They found that only 29% of the children were seen by an effective provider within one week of the onset of the spasms. The median time to be seen was 24.5 days.
Many parents reported that their suspicions that “something was wrong” with their child were often disregarded by paediatricians, emergency room physicians and, in some cases, even neurologists. Many parents reported that they diagnosed their children themselves using the internet and referred them to an effective provider themselves.
Factors such as the family’s race, ethnicity, religion, household income, education level, type of healthcare insurance, and distance of home to healthcare centre were not associated with the timing of first effective care provision.
In a press release, Dr Amy Brooks-Kayal, at Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado, who was not involved in the study said: “If parents are worried, they should request to see a pediatric neurologist for a video EEG and ask that their primary care provider facilitate an urgent appointment so that the child can be seen quickly.”
Infantile spasms are different from other types of seizures in that they last a short period of time (about a second). They are therefore difficult to notice and diagnose. However, a delay in diagnosis and treatment can cause substantial reduction in long-term developmental outcomes, including autism, lifelong epilepsy or cognitive disability.
Author: Dr Özge Özkaya
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