HOUSTON – Social support is a significant factor in developing anxiety and depression 1 year after a new diagnosis of epilepsy, according to research presented at the 2016 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting.

Researchers recruited 153 patients who were newly diagnosed with epilepsy (PWE), and assessed anxiety and depression at baseline and at 1 year using the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS). A cutoff point of 8 or higher was established for anxiety or depression.

In a year-long longitudinal study, the researchers analyzed the impact factors for developing anxiety and depression by paired t test and logistic regression analyses. A P value of less than .05 was accepted as significant. They collected demographic, clinical seizure-related and psychological data such as social support, stigma at 1 year after diagnosis, marriage, education, and employment status.

One year after diagnosis, 43 (28%) and 56 (36%) patients presented with anxiety and depression, respectively. Average HADS scores were 6.1 ± 3.5 and 5.8 ± 3.37 for anxiety and depression at follow-up, respectively.

The significant contributing factors for developing anxiety were baseline anxiety score of HADS (P= .000, OR= 1.536) and social support (P= .002, OR= 0.966). The significant contributing factors for developing depression, however, were number of antiepileptic drugs (P= .001, OR= 3.563), seizure recurrence during 1 year (P= .049, OR= 2.445), baseline depression score of HADS (P= .000, OR= 1.375), and social support (P= .013, OR= 0.973). There were no significant correlations with marriage, education, or employment status.

In addition to social support, such epilepsy-related variables as number of antiepileptic drugs and seizure recurrence after diagnosis also significantly contributed to depression one year after diagnosis in PWE.

After adjusting for levels of anxiety and depression at baseline, the authors found that anxiety and depression at 1 year post-diagnosis was significantly related to baseline levels.

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Jeon J, Lee S. Factors contributing to the development of anxiety and depression one year after diagnosis in people with newly diagnosed epilepsy. Presented at: 2016 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting. December 2-6, 2016; Houston, TX. Abstract 1.322.