Psychiatric and behavioural disorders in children with epilepsy (ILAE Task Force Report): Anxiety, depression and childhood epilepsy

David Dunn, Frank Besag, Rochelle Caplan, Albert Aldenkamp, Giuseppe Gobbi, Matti Sillanpää

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Anxiety and depression are relativelycommonin children with epilepsy: anxiety has been reported in 15-36% and depression in 8-35% of patients. In some cases these conditions may be related specifically to the epilepsy or its treatment. For example, some antiepileptic drugs are known to be associated with depression in adults and are likely to have a similar effect in young people. Emotional reactions to the epilepsy, for example anxieties and social phobia related specifically to the seizures, might be expected and require appropriate management. However, there is a growing recognition of the bidirectional relationship between epilepsy and psychiatric disorders, including depression, largely based on adult data. Cognitive behavioural therapy and serotonin reuptake inhibitors are used for treatment of both anxiety and depression in children with epilepsy. There is a need for greater understanding of the causes of these conditions in young people and there is also a need for better evidence for optimal treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S24-S30
JournalEpileptic Disorders
StatePublished - May 1 2016



  • Antidepressant
  • Antiepileptic Drug
  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

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