Lack of social support is a risk factor for developing anxiety and depression one year after being diagnosed with epilepsy, according to results presented at the American Epilepsy Society’s annual meeting in Houston, Texas.The findings also suggest that epilepsy-related factors such as the number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) a person is prescribed and seizure recurrence also significantly contribute to depression one year after diagnosis.For the study, the researchers enrolled 153 people who were newly diagnosed with epilepsy. They measured the participants’ level of anxiety and depression at the time they were diagnosed with epilepsy and one year later, using a method called the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS). They also collected information about the participants such as their level of social support, stigma, marital status, education, and employment status.The results showed that 28% of participants experienced anxiety and 36% experienced depression one year after being diagnosed with epilepsy. The factors contributing to anxiety one year after diagnosis were the level of anxiety at the time of diagnosis and a lack of social support. For depression, the factors included the number of antiepileptic drugs prescribed, seizure recurrence, the level of depression at the time of diagnosis and a lack of social support. The authors did not find any significant correlations between the level of anxiety and depression and marriage, education or employment status.Anxiety and depression are common in people with epilepsy. They can develop as a side effect of AEDs as well as being part of epilepsy itself. Identifying factors contributing to the development of anxiety and depression can help doctors better diagnose and treat these conditions.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about conditions related to epilepsy.