Interictal Depression, Anxiety, Personality Traits, and Psychological Dissociation in Patients with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE) and Extra-TLE


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. W.A.M. Swinkels at Epilepsy Institute of the Netherlands, SEIN, Postbox 540, 2130 AM Hoofddorp, Heemstede, The Netherlands. E-mail:


Summary: Purpose: This study was performed to investigate the relation between symptoms of interictal depression, anxiety, personality traits, and psychological dissociation with the localization and lateralization of the epileptogenic zone in patients with partial epilepsy.

Methods: All patients were diagnosed according to the localization-related concept of the 1989 International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Classification of Epilepsies and Epileptic Syndromes, and the localization and lateralization of the epileptogenic zone was established by using the clinical criteria for noninvasive presurgical evaluation. This resulted in 67 patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and 64 patients with extra-TLE. All patients were assessed on the various aspects of psychopathology by using a comprehensive battery of standardized diagnostic instruments.

Results: We did not find the hypothesized excess of psychiatric symptoms in patients with (mesial) TLE in comparison with patients with extra-TLE. We also found no differences between patients with the lateralization of epilepsy in the left versus the right hemisphere.

Conclusions: TLE per se cannot be considered a risk factor in developing more or more severe symptoms of psychopathology in patients with partial epilepsy. Concomitant factors, such as the duration of epilepsy, seizure frequency, and frontal lobe dysfunction may play an additional role. Our findings support the hypothesis of a multifactorial explanation for the psychiatric symptoms in patients with epilepsy.