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-   -   Epilepsy and depression? Please respond. (https://www.healthboards.com/boards/epilepsy/133757-epilepsy-depression-please-respond.html)

Sanguine 12-11-2003 02:30 AM

Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
Hi,

I'd like some input from those with firsthand experience with Epilepsy. I'm fairly knowledgeable about this condition, but I'm wondering if there are other mental conditions that have a higher than average likelihood of being comorbid with Epilepsy. Specifically, are depression and/or anxiety (social, panic disorder, generalized) commonly associated with lifelong epilepsy? I have a friend who recently admitted to me that she has always had epilepsy after many years, and I've noticed that she appears to have various social anxieties or defense mechanisms...and also some waxing/waning depression. I realize that these things can very well exist independently of one another, and all cases are different. I also realize that how one copes with any illness will differ from case to case as well. However, given the intricate chemical balance of the mind, I'm wondering if there are secondary effects to seizures, seizure medication, or other chemical facets of the illness itself that might also make one prone to depression.

I apologize in advance if this post seems overly presumptuous or uneducated. Any information would be much appreciated.

mommajessibelle 12-11-2003 07:15 AM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
hi i have suffered from depression for many years now i was diagnosed with epilepsy when i was 15 and when i was 17 it was the first time i was actually diagnosed with depression and then i guess it was actually post partum depression.but if you ask my mother she will say i was depressed long before i was diagnosed at 17 not to long ago i seen a neurophyscologist(sp) and according to him i was suffering from severe depression although i felt fine and still do he said it was probably like a way of life i had become accustomed to if that makes any sense. i was put on lexapro and have been on that actually for about 18 months on and off im not sure if this helps you or if you can even understand it i just woke up and the brains not working right yet lol take care jessie

kayakmom 12-11-2003 07:58 AM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
[QUOTE=mommajessibelle]hi i have suffered from depression for many years now i was diagnosed with epilepsy when i was 15 and when i was 17 it was the first time i was actually diagnosed with depression and then i guess it was actually post partum depression.but if you ask my mother she will say i was depressed long before i was diagnosed at 17 not to long ago i seen a neurophyscologist(sp) and according to him i was suffering from severe depression although i felt fine and still do he said it was probably like a way of life i had become accustomed to if that makes any sense. i was put on lexapro and have been on that actually for about 18 months on and off im not sure if this helps you or if you can even understand it i just woke up and the brains not working right yet lol take care jessie[/QUOTE]


It can be a separate issue, it can be increased by the meds that are taken, it can also have to do with the part of the brain where the seizures emanate. SO yes, people with E can have a higher tendancy towards depression, but for many different reasons. It can be part of dealing with a chronic disorder that alters life plans etc...

Rebecca2 12-11-2003 03:55 PM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
Hi, I am seeing a psychiatrist right now, and we have been trying to answer that very question- I actually just talked with him about not knowing myself if my depression and anxiety is related more to my meds or my epilepsy or even hormones- it seems that my hormones may be unbalanced since I have my seizures most often during my period on very specific days- I also have very severe PMS. Now when I discussed progesterone therapy with my psychiatrist, he was concerned becaused that may cause worsened depression. It is interestin, nontheless, but I don't seem to get many answers- I just get shuffled out of my psychiatrists office when I overstay my visit. I'd love to hear more from other people,though-
-Rebecca

Wanda1234 12-11-2003 10:58 PM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
Hi. I find this an interesting topic of conversation. I've been epileptic since I was 15, that's 12 years now. I have suffered with depression since I was 20, that being 7 years now. I've never found a link between the two. The depression was caused by a totally different problem.

Sanguine 12-11-2003 11:53 PM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
Thanks for all of the responses. Clearly there isn't a direct correlation b/w epilepsy and depression or anxiety disorder, but I can see how a bad case of epilepsy could lead to depression, depending on how much it affects one's life.
For the individual of whom I speak, it's difficult to say what the impact of epilepsy was on her childhood, because I didn't know her then.

However, I would wager that having displayed epilepsy in public, or in school (i.e. having a seizure) might be a real possibility, especially prior to a complete diagnosis and treatment. Let's face it, such an experience could make anyone defensive or insecure. I actually had to learn about her epilepsy the hard way...twice. She had a seizure in front of me just before a dinner party a few years ago. She naturally felt very strange about that, and so we discussed it. Apparently, she had forgotten to take her meds for a couple of days, but also mentioned that she was upset about the seizure b/c she was told that she could grow out of it as she got older. I always wondered if she purposely stopped her meds to check and see if this was the case. What a gamble.

Anyhow, she seems a little defensive in social situations, despite being a great person. She isn't very open to meeting new people, and seems to feel threatened by them -- I'd always wondered if feeling alienated with an illness like epilepsy as a child made it easier to put up walls. While I can understand her hesitation in telling me about her illness, I've never considered it as something worthy of a stigma. It's no different than having diabetes...but I guess not everyone sees it that way.

Anyhow...any other info/experiences would be appreciated...especially childhood experiences. Thanks.

radasjewel 12-12-2003 05:40 AM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
When I was first diagnosed with epilepsy at age 2 my mother was told that due to the condition I could suffer from " a social disorder" which usually leads to extreme depression. We were informed then that it had been proven that there was a significantly higher risk of people with epilepsy developing depression, anxiety disorders, paranoia and even to have a higher suicide risk.
Some of this can also be linked to the medication that is taken to keep the epilipsy in check. The side effects from the medication playing games with the chemicals in your body, the side effects of the drugs, social/ work rejection, restrictions and family preasures from the condition all play a big part. I went through a very hard time when growing up and by the time I was 15 I was on Prozac and had tried to commit suicide twice before having a mental breakdown and falling into depression. After that I had to leave school and constantly see a therapist at least 4 times a week and regular visits to my neurologist. So is there a link? Definately YES!!
Lori

mommajessibelle 12-12-2003 07:45 AM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
[QUOTE=Sanguine]

Anyhow, she seems a little defensive in social situations, despite being a great person. She isn't very open to meeting new people, and seems to feel threatened by them -- I'd always wondered if feeling alienated with an illness like epilepsy as a child made it easier to put up walls. While I can understand her hesitation in telling me about her illness, I've never considered it as something worthy of a stigma. It's no different than having diabetes...but I guess not everyone sees it that way.




I, myself am not very good in social siiuations i tend to avoid them at all costs. My whole family knows about my "condition" but i can see it in there eyes that at times they are uncomfortable just being around me. For me having epilepsy is MUCH different than having diabetes, its not very often that you will see someone with diabetes just fall over and start floppin around on the ground
(no offense to anyone) and then have no idea what happened for the entire day,ive never seem anyone with diabetes have trouble remembering there own chldrens birthday, or how old they were when they said thier first word or took thier first step. now if im wrong on that ok im sorry in advance but for you to come in here and say that epilepsy is the same as something else just blows my mind,if you have never lived the epileptic life dont even begin to think you know what its like our daily life is something that noone will ever even begin to understand unless they too suffer from epilepsy

Sanguine 12-13-2003 02:44 AM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
You know, I didn't mean to imply that there isn't a difference between epilepsy and diabetes or any other illness -- rather, I was trying to explain that to me, I don't view my friend any differently than any other person with any sort of illness. I'm quite aware that diabetes and epilepsy are very different illnesses; I'm afraid you misunderstood me and took it a bit personally. Let me clarify. She seemed embarrassed to share the fact that she has epilepsy with me due to the stigma attached to having this illness, and I was trying to reassure her that I didn't view the illness through a judgmental lens.

I wasn't trying to diminish or devalue epilepsy and the impact it has on one's life, I was acknowledging that a stigma exists and that I, a person educated about epilepsy, know better than to view it that way. I apologize if it appeared otherwise, that's just not the case.

Clearly, epilepsy affects people to varying degrees, as do most other illnesses. My friend is fortunate to have had her epilepsy almost entirely under control on medication since she was a child. And here's the problem: she is incredibly defensive in new social situations, and nobody understands why. There is a bitter streak in her, she sort of preemptively strikes out before she can be judged -- almost exhibiting signs of social anxiety. I would completely understand it if she had had bad experiences as a child, or was judged or stigmatized for her illness before it was under control. However, I have to think there are more issues there than just this -- but I'm in no place to address them with her. And I don't expect any of you to have a certain answer. But to the extent that I can gain a better understanding of the illness on a deeper scientific level (I completely understand and empathize with the emotional and social impacts), I'll be better off.

Thanks for your time and responses.

Wanda1234 12-13-2003 05:01 AM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
I'm not very good in social situations. So much so I tend to avoid them. When I was 17 I met a lad at college and decided to go out with him. I spent two or three days agonising over whether or not to tell him I was epileptic.

About a year before that I joined a morris dancing troupe. On my first night there I had a fit. After that the leader of the troupe discriminated against me, rarely letting me dance at public displays. Since then I always hesitate about telling people about my epilepsy for fear of the same thing happening again.

I don't want it to but some ppl seem to stop seeing you as a person and just see the epilepsy. Cruel but, in my own experience, very true.

KatieO 12-18-2003 02:22 PM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
The percentage of people who have depression is higher in those with epilepsy than in the general population, as is the case with migraines. They have been shown to be linked, but i imagine that it does depend on the location of the seizure focus. But of course, like you've all said, they are numerous other possible causes for depression. I have both epilepsy and depression (and self-diagnosed social anxiety disorder!) Fortunately lexapro has really helped with both the depression and the SAD, with few if any side effects, but I have noticed lately I feel more prone to seizures even though my meds were completely controlling them before, and I've also been feeling a bit depressed. So at least in my case they seem to be connected, but of course, as everyone's mentioned that's not always the case with those who have epilepsy.

Katie

becky1954 12-20-2003 10:03 AM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
I went thru a major depression where I was suicidal.My psych ran an eeg and found out that i had TLE and that was what was causing my severe depression.i found out that when i start having more seizures i tend to be more depressed.so one can cause the other i guess.

caesar 12-27-2003 10:58 AM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
Some people with depression pay to have seizures (electroconvulsive therapy). People with epilepsy have them for free.

amyanne1 01-02-2004 11:32 AM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
Hello~

I actually talked to my neurologist about this a couple of weeks ago because I am having trouble with really bad mood swings and so forth and some depression. He told me that Epileptics have a 15% higher chance of having depression than a non-epileptic. Thought that was interesting and I wanted to pass it along...

camrab05 01-03-2004 05:02 AM

Re: Epilepsy and depression? Please respond.
 
[QUOTE=Sanguine]Hi,

I'd like some input from those with firsthand experience with Epilepsy. I'm fairly knowledgeable about this condition, but I'm wondering if there are other mental conditions that have a higher than average likelihood of being comorbid with Epilepsy. Specifically, are depression and/or anxiety (social, panic disorder, generalized) commonly associated with lifelong epilepsy? I have a friend who recently admitted to me that she has always had epilepsy after many years, and I've noticed that she appears to have various social anxieties or defense mechanisms...and also some waxing/waning depression. I realize that these things can very well exist independently of one another, and all cases are different. I also realize that how one copes with any illness will differ from case to case as well. However, given the intricate chemical balance of the mind, I'm wondering if there are secondary effects to seizures, seizure medication, or other chemical facets of the illness itself that might also make one prone to depression.

I apologize in advance if this post seems overly presumptuous or uneducated. Any information would be much appreciated.[/QUOTE]

Hi, I had epilepsy since I was six months old. I'm 43 now. It started out with the petit mal seizures and went into complex-partial when I reached high school. They told me that I would either out-grow them or go into another kind by the time I was 20. Today, starting about 6 years ago, I started having drop seizures also where I would blank out. I also take zoloft for depression 150 mg. I am diagnosed with severe ptsd, chronic depression, and reoccuring psychosis. I think a lot of that was from the high school years where I was teased by kids through out high school. Not because of the seizures, but the side-effects from all of the meds I was on. One of them gave me double-vision and things would be moving diagnolly the same time. That one was zonegran. I also would hear voices of ridiculing, but a lot of it was really happening. Kids would come up to me and snap their fingers in front of my face and call me space-kid. I had seen a psychiatrist at that time and he told me it was just adolescence. I told him, "I must be the only one in the high school going through it then, because nobody else is seeing double and hearing voices." So, now when I'm in crowds, where everyone is still I am really uncomfortable. I have social anxiety. I'm fine one-on-one with someone, or in a store because everyone is moving. But, I can't sit amongst people like in church, or an auditorium...where they are still. I had gone to some small support groups and those I was fine in. Maybe because you know they are there to help. I feel panicky in the other cases because I feel like I'm being belittled or made fun of. I don't know if any of this helped you, but thought I'd share it in case it did.


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