Undiagnosed Depression and Anxiety in Children and Youth With Epilepsy May Contribute To Suicide

epilepsy brain EEG
epilepsy brain EEG
This study explores the issue of suicidality in children and youth with epilepsy and psychiatric comorbidities.

A significant percentage of children and youth with epilepsy (CYE) have undiagnosed depression and anxiety, according to a study presented at the 2020 annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society. These conditions may contribute to suicide among the pediatric epilepsy population.

The study included 119 CYE (54.6% female) who did not have a psychiatric diagnosis. The participants filled out self-reported scales for depression, anxiety, and suicide screening.

About one third (30.2%) of the participants tested positive for anxiety. More (41.2%) tested positive for depression. A total of 13 (10.9%) indicated suicidality.

“This [study] highlights the importance of using psychiatry screening tests in all children with epilepsy,” the researchers concluded. “Future research using larger, diversified cohort[s] are needed to confirm our findings.”


Dagar, A, Anand, A, Pestana-Knight E, et al. Screening for suicidality and its relation to undiagnosed psychiatric co-morbidities in children and youth with epilepsy. Abstract presented at: 2020 Annual Meeting American Epilepsy Society; December 4-8, 2020; Virtual. Abstract 548.