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Neurologist’s Role in the Management of Depression in Epilepsy!

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What is Depression?

Depression is the most common mental disorder in the world, characterized by persisting sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyable activities. Depression can harm a person’s ability to function normally, disturbing their sleep, appetite, focus, peace, etc.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a chronic non-communicable disease characterised by recurrent seizures, sometimes accompanied by loss of consciousness and control of bowel or bladder function. This is a result of excessive electrical discharges in a group of brain cells.

What is the connection between Depression & Epilepsy?

Epilepsy and Depression may seem like two different diseases at first glance, but recent research has shown that there is a strong connection between the two. Studies show that, the more severe epilepsy, the more severe the depression. The link can go both ways, people with depression may also be at risk of developing epilepsy.

There are several possible causes for this-

  • Type of seizure
    Depending on the part of the brain affected, the seizure itself might lead to mood disorders like depression.
  •  Hormones
    Hormone levels can also affect your mood and brain function. A study in the journal Functional Neurology suggests that sex hormones affect your risk of developing epilepsy and depression, more so in women than in men.
  • Side effects from medications
    Antiseizure drugs can greatly help control the symptoms of epilepsy but at the same time can contribute to changes in your mood, raising the risk of depression, including suicidal thoughts. In case you feel your medication is affecting your mood, please consult your doctor and they will make the necessary changes to your medication to suit you properly.
  •  Psychosocial factors
    It can be hard to cope with a lifelong medical condition such as epilepsy. The unpredictability of seizures, social stigma, bullying, financial troubles, etc. can lead to feelings of sadness, anxiety, embarrassment or even anger. These emotions can then lead to depression.

How can a Neurologist help you?

Prakriya Hospitals has an incredible Neurology team with some of the best neurologists in Bangalore, who will help screen, diagnose and treat symptoms of depression in epilepsy patients. Initially, a neurologist will ask you about the symptoms you are facing like mood swings, anxiety, irritability, pain, difficulty sleeping etc. Then once they have assessed your condition,

They will suggest the following solutions-

1. Antidepressant drugs
Drug treatment for depression is not about inducing feelings of happiness or inhibiting negative feelings, it is about restoring the normal mood regulation, in order to experience adequate positive and negative feelings. Taking anti-seizure and antidepressant drugs together can be a challenge, they may work against each other. Doctors are advised to start with the lowest effective dose, see how the patient is feeling and then proceed further.

2. Psychotherapy & Counselling
Although the terms can overlap, there is a slight difference between the two. Psychotherapy is the general term used to describe the process of treating mental disorders with verbal or psychological techniques. During this process, a trained psychotherapist helps you tackle a range of problems with an aim to help you understand your feelings and equip you for the challenges of both the present and the future.

While psychotherapy focuses on finding the root of the problem, counselling is less deep and focuses on-

  • Educating people about depression, how to recognize and treat the symptoms, and its effect on your life.
  •  Teaching different methods to cope with depression
  •  Addressing familial or personal relationships or conflicts
  •  Reframing or changing the way people think about problems and how to respond to them.

Prakriya hospital constitutes a world-class Neurology department with a team of the best Neurologists in Bangalore, who will provide you holistic care with state-of-the-art facilities at an affordable cost.