Clinical characteristics of patients with epilepsy in a specialist neuropsychiatry service

Adam Osman, Stefano Seri, Andrea E. Cavanna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuropsychiatry services provide specialist input into the assessment and management of behavioral symptoms associated with a range of neurological conditions, including epilepsy. Despite the centrality of epilepsy to neuropsychiatry and the recent expansion of neuropsychiatry service provision, little is known about the clinical characteristics of patients with epilepsy who are routinely seen by a specialist neuropsychiatry service. This retrospective study filled this gap by retrospectively evaluating a naturalistic series of 60 consecutive patients with epilepsy referred to and assessed within a neuropsychiatry setting. Fifty-two patients (86.7%) had active epilepsy and were under the ongoing care of the referring neurologist for seizure management. The majority of patients (N = 42; 70.0%) had a diagnosis of localization-related epilepsy, with temporal lobe epilepsy as the most common epilepsy type (N = 37; 61.7%). Following clinical assessment, 39 patients (65.0%) fulfilled formal diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder; nonepileptic attack disorder (N = 37; 61.7%), major depression (N = 23; 38.3%), and generalized anxiety disorder (N = 16; 26.7%) were the most commonly diagnosed comorbidities. The clinical characteristics of patients seen in specialist neuropsychiatry settings are in line with the results from previous studies in neurology clinics in terms of both epilepsy and psychiatric comorbidity. Our findings confirm the need for the development and implementation of structured care pathways for the neuropsychiatric aspects of epilepsy, with focus on comorbid nonepileptic attacks and affective and anxiety symptoms. This is of particular importance in consideration of the impact of behavioral symptoms on patients' health-related quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-47
Number of pages4
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Early online date5 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

Bibliographical note



  • behavioral neurology
  • epilepsy
  • neuropsychiatry
  • specialist service


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