School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Suicidality in Epilepsy: Does It Share Common Pathogenic Mechanisms with Epilepsy?

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Suicidality presents a major global health concern and its association with epilepsy has been suggested. The body of evidence is growing due to targeted epidemiological studies, genetic findings, and neuroimaging data, use of specific neuropsychiatric inventories, neuropsychological tests, and metabolic and immunological studies.

Suicide tendencies and psychiatric comorbidity such as depression are not uncommon in chronic diseases, especially in epilepsy. Suicide is an important cause of death in epilepsy, and is usually underestimated. Persons with epilepsy have higher risk for suicide than healthy controls. It appears that some epilepsy types have stronger tendencies for suicide, in particular temporal lobe epilepsy. The suicidal risk factors in persons with epilepsy include difficult to treat epilepsies, onset of epilepsy at an earlier age, and comorbid depression.

This clinical evidence is mostly based on observational studies in which we found an increased risk of suicidal ideation, suicidal attempts, and completed suicides in persons with epilepsy. However, we lack prospective and longitudinal studies on suicide in epilepsy. In this chapter we will examine recent research in neurobiological mechanisms between suicidality and epilepsy, and comorbid depression.


© 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

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Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences



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