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Psychiatric Comorbidity in Epilepsy

Basic Mechanisms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Edited by Harry Waldon McConnell, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., and Peter J. Snyder, Ph.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-853-2
  • Item #8853

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Epilepsy affects 40 million people worldwide. With appropriate treatment most can become seizure free. For a minority of patients who also suffer from psychiatric comorbidity, however, diagnosis and management may be complicated by uncontrolled seizures, associated stigma or by the treatment of the epilepsy itself.

Written by the world's foremost authorities on the neuropsychiatric manifestations of epilepsy, Psychiatric Comorbidity in Epilepsy is a comprehensive clinical, research, and treatment text for health care professionals—including psychiatrists, neurologists, and neuropsychologists—who treat patients with epilepsy and comorbid psychiatric problems. Based on a thorough knowledge of contemporary neuroscience, this book addresses the critical psychosocial and psychiatric issues that can affect patient care, including depression, psychosis, nonepileptic seizure-like events, antiepileptic drug toxicity, and family issues. This book also examines the possible links between the neurobiology of neuropsychiatric illness and the neurobiology of seizures, providing insight into brain behavior relations.


  • Foreword. Preface. Introduction. The shifting paradigm of epilepsy: a review of historical trends and current perspectives. Neural mechanisms of psychiatric disturbances in patients with epilepsy. Diagnosis and classification of the epilepsies: pathophysiological and psychiatric aspects. The clinical neuropsychological examination in patients with epilepsy. Sleep and seizures: a selective review. Mood disorders associated with epilepsy. The psychoses of epilepsy: a neurobiological perspective. Diagnosis and treatment of nonepileptic seizures. Behavioral effects of antiepileptic drugs. Treatment of psychiatric comorbidity in patients with epilepsy. Family systems theory: an approach to therapy for families of patients with epilepsy. Living with epilepsy. Index.

About the Authors

Harry W. McConnell, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., is a neurologist and a psychiatrist. He developed and was the Director of the Behavioral Epilepsy Program, a clinical service for people with epilepsy and psychiatric comorbidity, at the Allegheny Neuropsychiatric Institute and Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There he was Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and also directed the Neurophysiology Laboratory. Dr. McConnell has specialized in epileptology, with a primary focus on psychiatric and psychosocial aspects. He is currently at the Institutes of Psychiatry and of Epileptology and Maudsley/Kings Hospitals in London, where he is Director of the Epilepsy Educational Initiative. Dr. McConnell has published widely in epileptology and neuropsychiatry.

Peter J. Snyder, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience and Director of the Division of Behavioral Neurology, Department of Neurology, at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences and Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was awarded the Wilder-Penfield Post-doctoral fellowship in 1992 from the Epilepsy Foundation of America for his work in neuroimaging and epilepsy. Dr. Snyder has publisher widely within the field of epileptology with particular interests in neuropsychology and neuroendocrinology.

Psychiatric Comorbidity in Epilepsy is a timely and welcome addition to the books on epilepsy. This book has an excellent introductory section detailing the history of epilepsy and associated psychiatric illnesses. This wide-ranging book is well-edited, well-referenced, and thoroughly up-to-date in its approach and information. It contains a high level of expertise in each chapter. This excellent reference text should be available in every library. I would thoroughly recommend it for all medical practitioners with an interest in epilepsy, and particularly those with a special interest in neuropsychiatry.—Peter B. C. Fenwick, M.B., B.Chir. (Cantab), D.P.M., F.R.C.Psych., Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry/Epilepsy Unit, London, England

Epilepsy is a common disorder, and epileptic seizures can usually be controlled by antiepileptic drugs. All too often, however, people with epilepsy are more disabled by associated disturbances than by the primary epileptic symptoms. Psychiatric comorbidity is of particular interest because of the complex interactions between epilepsy, behavioral disturbances, and the drugs used to treat both of these conditions. The contents of this volume should increase the sensitivity of medical professionals to the many psychiatric problems associated with epilepsy, and stimulate basic neuroscientists interested in brain and behavior to consider this clinically relevant area a potentially productive and rewarding direction for fundamental research.—Jerome Engel Jr., M.D., Ph.D., Chief, Division of Epilepsy and Clinical Neuropsychiatry, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California

This large and multi-faceted textbook is a comprehensive review of present understanding of the pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of epilepsy. [It covers] interactions between epilepsy and behavior, psychotropic and behavioral effects of antiepileptic drugs and corresponding effects of psychotropic medications on epilepsy, approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of seizure-like attacks which are not to due epilepsy, and situational and psychological problems encountered by epilepsy patients and how to address them. . . . [It] is a well-written and well-edited book that will be helpful in the neurology and psychiatry department library, in the neurology clinic and epilepsy center, and on the shelf of the neuropsychiatric clinician. I am pleased to recommend it.—Miles E. Drake Jr., M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, Columbus, Ohio

Overall, this a valuable book that I now frequently refer to and would recommend to neurologists and psychiatrists with an interest in the neuropsychiatry of epilepsy.—Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences

This is a valuable and comprehensive new book on the psychiatric aspects of epilepsy. Any clinician who is involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with epilepsy should read and refer to this book.—Doody's Health Sciences Book Review Journal

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