Epilepsy Talk

Epilepsy, Anxiety and Depression  | March 21, 2022

One study stated that 80% of the patients with epilepsy were also diagnosed as having a depressive disorder.

Upwards of 60% of these individuals had a history of significant episodes of depression.

And 10-32% experience symptoms of anxiety.

Not too reassuring, is it?

And for those whose epilepsy cannot be controlled by meds, the likelihood of depression and anxiety are even greater.

In fact, many of the medications used to treat seizure disorders can trigger depression.

Dilantin, Phenobarbatol, Celonton and Tegretol are all notorious for this side effect.

Trigger management

Careful monitoring of your seizures can help you figure out possible triggers, how they affect your behavior, and what happens after an episode.

With time, you can target your plans to lessen or prevent triggers and figure out what the culprits are: lack of sleep, foods, stress, work, social situations, isolation, or some simple thing in your  everyday life.

Here are some suggestions that might help you:

Consider counseling… support groups…tracking your seizures and their triggers daily in a diary…time-out when you’re feeling overwhelmed… relaxation  exercises, deep breathing or yoga…

But most importantly, tell your doctor and family how you feel.

Support can often go a long way towards helping your anxiety and depression.

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Resources:

http://jnnp.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/76/suppl_1/i45

https://www.healthline.com/health/epilepsy-depression-connection#treatment

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4101093/

https://www.cureepilepsy.org/webinars/epilepsy-depression-anxiety/

https://www.epsyhealth.com/seizure-epilepsy-blog/epilepsy-and-depression-lets-talk-about-it


18 Comments »

  1. Reblogged this on Disablities & Mental Health Issues.

    Like

    Comment by Kenneth — March 21, 2022 @ 8:15 AM

  2. I get a double wammy with my seizure medicine, Gabapentin, since it is also given out to treat anxiety. Not sure about depression, i don’t really get that.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Zolt — March 21, 2022 @ 12:03 PM

    • Zolt, interestingly enough, my husband was given Gabapentin for pain. (It didn’t work.)

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 21, 2022 @ 2:23 PM

      • Hey Phylis, I don’t think it’s for regular pain but more for nerve pain. But who knows, when they first developed it, it wasn’t even meant for seizures. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Zolt — March 21, 2022 @ 5:19 PM

  3. It’s not coincidental that anxiety/depressive disorders and epilepsy overlap in so many people. It’s not just that having seizures sucks and that makes you sad. It is physiological, the same way that seizures and migraine sufferers overlap greatly.
    I had epilepsy for 35 years and my BFF had a lifelong anxiety/depression battle. We both went carnivore and both disorders went away completely. Neither of us thought this would happen or even knew it was possible so this is not a placebo. We were both just hoping to lose a few pounds (which we did, BTW).
    Now obviously if your seizures are caused by a brain trauma this might not fix everything but it could still decrease the frequency. Raise your seizure threshold. And if it gets rid of depression too, with no extra pills to take, that’s a bonus.
    Also not everyone has to go fully carnivore like I did. A good keto diet will work as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by paleobird — March 21, 2022 @ 1:37 PM

    • NO problem there i’m all for being, carnivorous. 🙂 Especially with fresh bread and potatoes and pickles and sometimes onions. UGH!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Zolt — March 21, 2022 @ 5:23 PM

  4. I don’t know where my allergy to everything but fins and feathers falls. They discovered 45 years ago that I couldn’t process animal fat.

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 21, 2022 @ 2:27 PM

  5. Zolt, Re Gabapentin. My husband used it for nerve pain. He has peripheral neuropathy from his waist to his toes. It has a loooong name that I can’t remember, but it sure is hell. 😦

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 21, 2022 @ 5:30 PM

  6. Agree, having a good diet and sleep is really essential (need to work on that)… really I tend to have no appetite. I don’t know if it’s the anxiety (work) mixed with my medication. I can go for a run, yoga, etc. And not feeling hungry, *shrugs* but if I do eat: poultry, fish, and home made smoothies are my favorite…And I’m not a big fan of fast food or restaurants. I just Don’t trust on how they make it…especially when they bring it in so fast..And then if they do take a lot of time, I get worried…yeah, I know it’s exaggerating and weird…but I can’t help it sometimes..So I prefer to make my own.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kate — March 22, 2022 @ 12:51 AM

    • Well Kate. You can’t go wrong making your own. (Unless you’re a terrible cook like me!)

      At least you know what’s in it and how it’s prepared.

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 22, 2022 @ 9:23 AM

  7. I’ve been think about the anxiety thing a lot lately. I believe that years of being afraid of having my focal seizures has caused me to have a mild form of agoraphobia.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Hetty Eliot — March 22, 2022 @ 1:04 AM

    • I certainly can empathize with you. There’s always that cloud over your head of “what if”. Or worse, the fear of “when”.

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 22, 2022 @ 9:19 AM

  8. Well i don’t trust fast food places or any place that makes massive amounts of food. Ever wonder why their hamburgers don’t taste like supermarket hamburgers? Or why bread doesn’t taste like homemade? Or why McDs food will not spoil if u leave it out for yrs ? I definitely will make my own food. Cooking isn’t rocket science, once shown how it’s pretty easy. And if u fail u just toss it. It happens. And it’s no sin to modify receipts to ones tastes.

    Anxiety do to fear is very common and logical reaction in our cases. Even for me and i get auras, unless if i have a grand mal, then no aura, it just happens. The fear of it happening in the worst possible time is what keeps me away from doing hazardous things. But sometimes u just have to say screw it, i’ll do it and get it done with and try to have a positive attitude that it won’t happen. I have a swimming pool and i know we shouldn’t go swimming alone, but living alone i’ll go swimming anyway. I hate taking chances like that, but sometimes on a hot day one can’t resist.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Zolt — March 22, 2022 @ 1:05 PM

  9. Agree, the “what ifs” are always with me too. I can barely take a risk of going out for a run on my own (like hiking 🙂 But I think the only “positive” about having a seizure is that ever since I was a child, I will always have an aura. So at least I have a chance to lie down on my own, prevent a head injury. I have to realize and be grateful that I’ve been able to avoid going to the ER. Just sometimes I forget and go back to my doubts and concerns. I have to always be active and distracted, hence the cooking and baking (I’m not the next julia styles, but something is something lol) It also keeps me calm and distracted (I don’t eat the deserts, just like to try new recipes, It’s fun. I mostly share it with my friends, neighbor and employees 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by kate — March 22, 2022 @ 10:55 PM

    • Send some of those desserts over to me…

      Seriously, I’m glad you found an outlet for all of your energy — and a creative one as well.

      Good for you!

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 23, 2022 @ 9:29 AM

  10. oops sorry, meant Julia Child, hate auto correct. Anyways, she’s an awesome icon.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by kate — March 23, 2022 @ 4:15 AM

  11. can phenytoin cause weight gain ifso can it be resolved with a medication !!?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by robert joseph rimmer — March 25, 2022 @ 7:35 AM

    • Yes, it certainly can cause weight gain. Unfortunately, all you can do is exercise and eat mindfully.

      Or be changed to another med.

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 25, 2022 @ 8:46 AM


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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