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Keywords:

  • drug overdose;
  • idiopathic generalized epilepsy;
  • neuropsychiatry;
  • psychiatric co-morbidity;
  • suicide attempts

Aims:  To study clinical features of adult patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy with special attention to suicidal behavior.

Methods:  We reviewed the medical records of 145 consecutive adult patients with electro-clinically confirmed idiopathic generalized epilepsy and identified those with a history of at least one attempted suicide. Clinical variables in relation to their epilepsy and psychiatric conditions were analyzed.

Results:  Seven patients (4.8%) had a history of suicide attempts with drug overdose, and one of these patients committed suicide after multiple attempts. All attempts were made interictally without direct relation to their epileptic seizures. All had at least one co-morbid mental disorder (two with dual diagnosis). Although their psychiatric diagnoses varied, they all appeared to have increased emotional instability and poor impulse control. Only one patient's attempt was directly associated with her co-morbid depression.

Conclusions:  Physicians managing people with epilepsies should be aware of psychiatric disturbances and suicidal behavior in idiopathic generalized epilepsy.