A significant percentage of children and youth with epilepsy (CYE) have undiagnosed depression and anxiety, according to a study presented at the 2020 annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society. These conditions may contribute to suicidality among the pediatric epilepsy population.

The study included 119 CYE (54.6% female) who did not have a psychiatric diagnosis. The participants filled out self-reported scales for depression, anxiety, and suicide screening.

About one-third (30.2%) of the participants tested positive for anxiety. More (41.2%) tested positive for depression. A total of 13 (10.9%) indicated suicidality.

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“This [study] highlights the importance of using psychiatry screening tests in all children with epilepsy,” the researchers concluded. “Future research using larger, diversified cohort[s] are needed to confirm our findings.”


Dagar, A, Anand, A, Pestana-Knight E, et al. Screening for suicidality and its relation to undiagnosed psychiatric co-morbidities in children and youth with epilepsy. Abstract presented at: 2020 Annual Meeting American Epilepsy Society; December 4-8, 2020; Virtual. Abstract 548.

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor