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Annals of General Psychiatry

Open Access

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

  • Vasilios Kimiskidis1,
  • Nikolaos Triantafyllou2,
  • Eleni Kararizou2,
  • Stergios-Stylianos Gatzonis3,
  • Konstantinos Fountoulakis4,
  • Anna Siatouni2,
  • Panagiotis Loucaidis2,
  • Dimitra Pseftogianni1,
  • Nikolaos Vlaikidis1 and
  • George Kaprinis4
Annals of General Psychiatry20087(Suppl 1):S321

Published: 17 April 2008


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.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Neurology III, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
University of Athens, Neurological Clinic, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece
Department of Neurosurgery, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Department of Psychiatry III, ristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece


© Kimiskidis et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.