Seizures…Memory…Depression. YES, They Are Linked! | November 17, 2013
At least one in every eight people with epilepsy also has depression.
Epilepsy can have different effects on memory functions and depression for various reasons.
Because the portion of the brain where memory and emotions are stored – the limbic sysyem – can be disturbed by epileptic seizures.
In fact, memory problems are one of the most reported problems that coincide with epilepsy.
The normal processes that the brain goes through in storing memory may be disrupted during an epileptic seizure.
Loss of consciousness that occurs along with seizures can result in a loss of memory.
Usually, the memory loss is at the time immediately prior to the seizure, however, there have been exceptions to this.
People with Temporal Lobe Eilepsy are especially prone to memory loss.
Because those seizures usually begin in the deeper portions of the temporal lobe — especially the limbic system.
And since TLE is often medication resistant, the result is memory loss, often coupled with depression.
In a study of 70 treatment resistant people, 34% of the people showed significant depression.
They also had poorer performance on measures of intelligence, language, perception, memory, and executive function.
Severity of depressive symptoms were associated with the level of memory impairment in TLE patients.
Especially for people with a left-sided seizure focus.
And at the time of the study, depression seemed to be under-recognized and under-treated, since none of the people were in any kind of treatment.
In addition, it’s also important to understand that epilepsy is more than just a syndrome of seizures.
Other cognitive, behavioral, and emotional changes are present.
Although in the past, these have been generally viewed as side-effects of seizures.
And it has been presumed they would disappear once seizures were adequately controlled.
But since they may precede seizures, these conditions don’t uniformly resolve if seizures are fully controlled.
Therefore, it’s increasingly recognized that to improve the quality of life for many people with epilepsy, a “cure” must involve more than stopping or preventing seizures.
It also must include improving the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional difficulties that can be an equally or more disabling part of this disorder.
Coping with epilepsy is an ongoing battle. And until the physiological and emotional issues are addressed, the struggle will continue.
Other articles of interest:
Antidepressants — Improving Mood AND Seizure Frequency
Epilepsy, Anxiety and Depression
Death, Depression and AEDs
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http://www.amazon.com/dp/0199580286 Epilepsy and Memory
Posted in Epilepsy
, limbic system
, medication resistant
, physiological issues
, side effects
, temporal-lobe epilepsy