January 30, 2023

Fear of Public Places Is Common in Adults with Epilepsy 

Article published by NewsWire

About 5.1 million people in the U.S. have a history of epilepsy, which causes repeated seizures. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder. While current research has shown an increase in anxiety and depression among people with epilepsy, little is known about this population and agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder that involves the fear of being in a public place or in a situation that might cause panic or embarrassment. 

However, a recent study from Heidi Munger Clary, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, shows that phobic and agoraphobic symptoms are common and associated with poor quality of life in people with epilepsy. 

The study appears online in Epilepsy Research. 

“We know that agoraphobia can lead to delays in patient care because of a reluctance to go out in public, which includes appointments with health care providers,” said Munger Clary, the study’s principal investigator. “So, this is an area that needs more attention in clinical practice.” 

In the study, researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis of baseline clinical data from a neuropsychology registry cohort study. Researchers analyzed a diverse sample of 420 adults, ages 18 to 75, with epilepsy who underwent neuropsychological evaluation over a 14-year period at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

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