Homicide during postictal psychosis

Epilepsy Behav Case Rep. 2014 May 4:2:118-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ebcr.2014.04.001. eCollection 2014.


Postictal psychosis is characterized by a fluctuating combination of thought disorder, auditory and visual hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, affective change, and aggression including violent behavior. We present a case of homicide following a cluster of seizures. The patient's history and postictal behavior were his consistent with postictal psychosis. Contributing factors resulting in homicide may have included increased seizure frequency associated with a change in his AED regimen seizure frequency. The AED change to levetiracetam may also have increased impulsiveness with diminished mood regulation following discontinuation of carbamazepine. There is evidence that he had a cluster of seizures immediately prior to the murder which may have resulted in the postictal disinhibition of frontal lobe inhibitory systems. This homicide and other violent behaviors associated with postictal psychosis may be avoided with earlier recognition and treatment.

Keywords: Epilepsy; Homicide; Medical–legal; Postictal psychosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports