Prevalence and clinical implications of psychopathology in adults with epilepsy seen in an outpatient clinic in Nigeria

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2014 Nov-Dec;36(6):703-8. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2014.08.009. Epub 2014 Aug 16.


Background: The psychopathological and clinical characteristics of adult patients with epilepsy attending our neurology clinic were evaluated to determine prevalence of psychopathology and its associated factors towards improving services and initiating collaborative care which is currently nonexistent.

Methods: The study was a two-stage procedure conducted over 1 year using the General Health Questionnaire in the first stage and Schedule for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry in the second stage. Diagnosis of psychiatric disorders was based on International Classification of Diseases: 10th Revision criteria.

Results: Sixty-three patients were interviewed. Mean age was 34.43 ± 13.7 years; more than half of the patients had less than one seizure episode per month. Fourteen patients (22.2%) had partial epilepsy; 40 (63.5%), generalized; and 9 (14.3%), unclassified seizures. The rate of psychiatric morbidity was found to be 28.6%. Depressive disorders were the most common (66.7%), followed by psychotic disorders (11.1%), anxiety disorders (11.1%) and dementia (11.1%). Psychopathology was more common in women (P=.007), those older than 40 years (P = .038) and those with partial epilepsy (P = .017).

Conclusion: About one third of patients with epilepsy studied had undetected and untreated psychopathology. Our neurology clinic urgently needs currently nonexistent collaborative care involving neurologists, psychiatrists and primary care physicians in order to improve the mental health of the patients with epilepsy.

Keywords: Clinical implications of psychopathology; Epilepsy; Nigerian adults; Prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Comorbidity
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Prevalence