The authors of this study set out to investigate the influence of epilepsy on the development of psychiatric disorders in adults with learning disabilities.
The researchers measured psychiatric symptoms a year among two groups – 45 adults with learning disabilities who had active epilepsy and 45 without epilepsy. Both groups were carefully matched on level of learning disability.
They found that those adults with learning disabilities and epilepsy had a more than seven times increased risk for developing psychiatric disorders over the year (in particular depression and dementia ) compared to those adults without epilepsy.
The authors state their findings point to an increased risk of depression and unspecified disorders, including dementia, among adults with learning disabilities and epilepsy and suggest a need to further explore the nature and treatment of these disorders in supporting people with learning disabilities and epilepsy.
A prospective case control study of psychiatric disorders in adults with epilepsy and intellectual disability, Turky A et al, in Epilepsia, 52, 1223–1230