The study found that the rate of depression and anxiety disorders decreased by more than 50 percent up to two years after the surgery. People who no longer experienced any seizures after surgery were even more likely to be free of depression and anxiety.
“For people with refractory epilepsy, studies show that depression is more likely to affect their quality of life than how often they have seizures or how many drugs they have to take,” said study author Orrin Devinsky, MD, a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology with the New York University School of Medicine.
The study involved 360 people in seven U.S. epilepsy centres who were undergoing epilepsy surgery to remove the area of the brain producing the seizures. Epilepsy surgery is generally reserved for those whose seizures cannot be adequately controlled by medication. The majority of participants had surgery on the brain’s temporal lobe. The participants’ mental health and any symptoms of depression and anxiety were evaluated before surgery and at three follow-up visits.
Prior to the surgery, 22 percent of the participants met the criteria for a diagnosis of depression, compared to nine percent two years after the surgery. For anxiety disorders, 18 percent met the criteria for a diagnosis before the surgery, compared to ten percent two years after the surgery.
Of those who had no seizures following surgery, eight percent met the criteria for depression, compared to 18 percent of those who still had some seizures after surgery. For anxiety, eight percent of those who were seizure free had depression, compared to 15 percent of those with ongoing seizures.
“Removing dysfunctional areas of the brain may be critical,” Devinsky said. “Whether the benefit comes from reducing or eliminating seizures or other effects is not clear. People may also be benefiting from a fewer fear of seizures, higher activity levels and a lessened burden from medications.”
MEDICA.de; Source: American Academy of Neurology (AAN)