A Systematic Review of Psychiatric and Psychosocial Comorbidities of Genetic Generalised Epilepsies (GGE)

Neuropsychol Rev. 2016 Dec;26(4):364-375. doi: 10.1007/s11065-016-9333-1. Epub 2016 Oct 10.


Psychiatric disorders and associated poor psychosocial outcomes are recognised to be a common sequelae of epilepsy. The extent to which this is true of genetic generalised epilepsies (GGE), particularly syndromes other than juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is unclear. This systematic review synthesises findings regarding psychiatric and associated comorbidities in adults and children with GGE. Systematic review yielded 34 peer-reviewed studies of psychiatric and psychosocial outcomes in adults and children with GGE. Clinically significant psychiatric comorbidity was reported in over half of all children and up to a third of all adults with GGE. There was no evidence to support the presence of personality traits specific to JME or other syndromes; rather rates mirrored community samples. A small number of studies report poor psychosocial outcomes in GGE, however the interpretation of these findings is limited by paucity of healthy comparison groups. Some evidence suggests that anti-epileptic drug polytherapy in children and seizure burden at all ages may constitute risk factors for psychopathology. Findings highlight the importance of early screening so as not to overlook early or developing symptoms of psychopathology.

Keywords: Idiopathic/genetic generalised epilepsy; Psychiatric comorbidity; Psychopathology; Psychosocial.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Comorbidity
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / epidemiology*
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control


  • Anticonvulsants