Anxiety, phobias, and fear are common associations with the diagnosis of epilepsy, paroxysmal fear or anxiety being the most commonly reported aura (30%) in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Because anxiety is a normal emotion and some anticipatory anxiety may be expected in people with a paroxysmal disorder that is not completely controlled, attention is not always given to anxiety disorders in the clinic setting. A disorder requires that impairment of social, occupational, and other areas of functioning occurs as a result of the anxiety.9 Generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorder, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are conditions that exist in the general population, but may be amplified in people who also have epilepsy, particularly seizures arising from the temporal lobe.11
A comparison of patients with partial epilepsy (106 with TLE and 44 with frontal lobe epilepsy), idiopathic generalized epilepsy (70 patients), and controls demonstrated that there was a significant difference between anxiety and depression scores between the patients with epilepsy and the controls. In addition, patients with partial epilepsy scored higher than the idiopathic group, although this did not reach statistical significance. The previously reported association between left TLE and anxiety was replicated in this study but did not reach significance.12
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