July 30, 2020

The Importance of Mental Health in Improving Quality of Life in Transition-Aged Patients with Epilepsy

Abstract, published in Epilepsy Behavior

Objective: Adolescents with epilepsy are known to have a lower quality of life (QoL) than the typically developing adolescent population. In order to address this, treating physicians have primarily focused on obtaining seizure control. However, growing evidence suggests a strong relation between QoL and mental health in adults with epilepsy and other chronic conditions. Given the high rate of mental health issues in transition-aged adolescents with epilepsy, this study aimed to examine the relation between QoL and mental health.

Methods: Baseline data from 107 transition-aged adolescents (M = 16.08 years; 52 males, 55 females) enrolled in an epilepsy transition clinic were analyzed for this study.

Results: Analysis found that over 56% of participants showed some signs of mental illness, and that these participants had significantly lower QoL scores than those without mental health issues. Furthermore, regression analysis found that both depression and anxiety remained significant, independent predictors of QoL, even when significant epilepsy and demographic variables were accounted for (t(99) = -1.28, p < .001 and t(99) = -1.10, p = .002, respectively).

Significance: Results suggest that in order to ensure best outcomes for these adolescents, it may be important for clinicians to take a holistic approach to treatment, managing, and treating both seizures and mental health concerns.

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