Stress and epilepsy: a patient perception survey

Epilepsy Behav. 2003 Oct;4(5):511-4. doi: 10.1016/s1525-5050(03)00182-3.


A questionnaire was administered to patients in the Montefiore Medical Center outpatient epilepsy department to assess perceptions about stress, seizures, and stress reduction. Eighty-nine patients completed the questionnaire. Overall, 64% of patients reported the belief that stress increased the frequency of their seizures. This belief was not significantly associated with gender, age, location of care, epilepsy classification, or seizure control, but was significantly associated with a shorter duration of epilepsy (P=0.04). Thirty-two percent of subjects had tried stress reduction modalities for epilepsy. Of those who had not, 53% were willing to try, and this willingness was significantly associated with a greater number of seizures in the prior 2 months (P=0.006) and the belief that stress was associated with seizures (P=0.04). Both major and minor stressors were reported with equal frequency. The majority of our study population believe that stress and seizures are related, and are willing to try stress reduction techniques for seizure control. We believe that these findings indicate a need for a prospective study to evaluate the role of stress and stress reduction as an additional potential therapeutic modality for epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Seizures / epidemiology
  • Seizures / psychology
  • Stress, Physiological / complications*
  • Stress, Physiological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires