Surgery for refractory (drug-resistant) epilepsy may improve psychological changes and psychiatric problems seen in some people with epilepsy, according to a study published in the scientific journal, Epilepsia.First Author Dr Sònia Ramos-Perdigués, at Can Misses Hospital, in Spain, said: “The results of this study suggest that surgery for refractory epilepsy may provide additional benefit in patients with a psychiatric history and should be considered in this population.”In order to assess the relationship between epilepsy surgery and psychiatric disorders, the researchers analysed the psychiatric outcome in people with drug-resistant epilepsy who underwent surgery.They first evaluated the psychiatric condition of 85 participants before surgery using tools such as the ‘Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale’ and ‘Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale’, and then repeated the assessments six month after surgery. They compared the results to those obtained from 68 subjects with drug-resistant epilepsy who were not eligible for surgery,The results showed that the perception of distress significantly improved in participants who underwent surgery compared to those who did not. Several other measures of psychological changes such as somatisation, where psychological distress in unconsciously expressed as physical symptoms, and paranoia also improved. Finally, symptoms of depression and anxiety decreased following surgery.“Epilepsy patients with a history of psychiatric disorders may be concerned about the potential effect of surgery on their mental condition. As a result, some patients and physicians might have been reluctant to utilize surgery for refractory epilepsy, for fear of worsening emotional suffering,” said Dr Ramos-Perdigués.This study suggests that the contrary may be the case and provides evidence that surgery could improve psychiatric functioning in drug-resistant epilepsy.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about other treatments for epilepsy.