Is depression common in people with epilepsy?
Depression is common and can range from mild to really severe. About 1 in 15 young people experience depression – the majority are in the mild to moderate range. Depression is about 2-3 times more common in people with epilepsy.
Simplistically, the brain activity that causes seizures can lead to depressive moods and also the stress of living with a chronic condition can worsen feelings of depression and anxiety.
In people with epilepsy, depression can be caused by one or a combination of factors including:
Also, epilepsy may be more difficult to manage if you have depression because depression is sometimes known to make seizures more frequent and can take away the motivation to manage them effectively.
There is definitely a connection between epilepsy, depression and anxiety disorders. Some of the facts are:
The symptoms of depression can include; sleep difficulties, low energy, guilt, irritability, anger, isolation from social activities and hobbies, hopelessness, and helplessness. Teenagers are particularly at risk for thoughts about suicide, especially those with epilepsy. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, it is very important to seek help. If you are not comfortable letting your parents or a teacher know, Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) is a service specifically set up to help children and teenagers talk about their problems.
It is quite normal for people to sometimes feel sad and upset. However if you find that you are feeling more and more sad, no longer interested or motivated in social activities, feeling tired, not feeling hungry (or the opposite ‘comfort eating’) and these signs last for at least a couple of weeks then it is possible you are depressed. It is important to seek help by speaking to your parents, a teacher that you like, or another person that you feel close to.
Click on the play button to hear Daniel talk about his depression.
Click on the video to hear Nicole talk about her experience of not letting depression take over her life.
EAA/Beyond Blue Factsheet – Depression and Epilepsy
EAA Smartclip – Dr. Dan McLaughlin – Epilepsy, anxiety and depression