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Depression and anxiety in epilepsy: the association with demographic and seizure-related variables


Depression and anxiety are common psychiatric symptoms in patients with epilepsy exerting a profound negative effect on health-related quality of life. Several issues, however, pertaining to their association with psycho-social, seizure-related and medication factors, remain controversial. Accordingly, the present study was designed to investigate the association of interictal mood disorders with various demographic and seizure-related variables in patients with newly-diagnosed and chronic epilepsy.

Materials and methods

We investigated 201 patients with epilepsy (51.2% males, mean age 33.2± 10.0 years, range=16-60) with a mean disease duration of 13.9 ± 9.5 years. Depression and anxiety were assessed in the interictal state with the Beck Depression Inventory, 21 item version (BDI-21) and the State and Trait subscales of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-S and STAI-T), respectively. The association of mood disorders with various variables was investigated with simple and multiple linear regression analyses.


High seizure frequency and symptomatic focal epilepsy (SFE) were independent determinants of depression, together accounting for 12.4% of the variation of the BDI-21. The STAI-S index was significantly associated with the type of epilepsy syndrome (SFE). Finally, high seizure frequency, SFE and female gender were independent determinants of trait-anxiety accounting for 14.7% of the variation of the STAI-T.


Our results confirm the prevailing view that depression and anxiety are common psychological disorders in epileptics. It is additionally concluded that female gender, high seizure frequency and a symptomatic epilepsy syndrome are independent risk factors for the development of anxiety and/or depression.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Kimiskidis, V., Triantafyllou, N., Kararizou, E. et al. Depression and anxiety in epilepsy: the association with demographic and seizure-related variables. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S321 (2008).

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