Published online Apr 22, 2012. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v2.i2.33
Revised: October 16, 2011
Accepted: February 25, 2012
Published online: April 22, 2012
AIM: To determine the prevalence and risks of suicidality in a group of patients with epilepsy.
METHODS: Included were 200 adult patients and 100 matched healthy subjects. The clinical interview using The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition), Beck Depression Inventory (2nd edition) (BDI-II), Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) and Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised Rating Scale testings were used for diagnosis and assessment of severity of psychiatric symptoms. Blood concentrations of serotonin, catecholamines and dopamine were also measured.
RESULTS: Suicidality was reported in 35% (compared to 9% for controls), of them 80%, 72.86%, 55.71% and 52.9% had depression, anxiety, obsession and aggression respectively. Patients with suicidality had higher scores of BDI-II (P = 0.0001), HAM-A (P = 0.0001), and Y-BOCS (P = 0.037) and lower scores of psychotic (P = 0.0001) and extroversion (P = 0.025) personality traits. Regardless the presence or absence of suicidality, patients with epilepsy had low serotonin (P = 0.006), noradrenaline (P = 0.019) and adrenaline (P = 0.0001) levels. With suicidality, significant correlations were identified between: (1) age and scores of BDI-II (r = 0.235, P = 0.0001) and HAM-A (r = 0.241, P = 0.046); (2) age at onset and concentrations of noradrenaline (r = -0.502, P = 0.024); (3) duration of illness and scores of BDI-II (r = 0.247, P = 0.041), Y-BOCS (r = 0.270, P = 0.025) and neurotic personality trait (r = -0.284, P = 0.018); and (4) doses of antiepileptic drugs and scores of psychotic personality traits (r = -0.495, P = 0.006 for carbamazepine; r = -0.508, P = 0.0001 for valproate).
CONCLUSION: This is the first study which systematically estimated the prevalence and risks of suicidality in a homogenous group of patients with epilepsy. This study emphasizes the importance of epilepsy itself as a risk for suicidality and not its treatment.