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A study into the psychopathology of adults with a mental handicap and epilepsy.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 08:52 authored by Saumitra. Deb
The debate regarding the relationship between epilepsy and mental illness started in Ancient Greece and has continued until the present. As a group, individuals with epilepsy tend to show increased rates of psychopathology compared to others. However this discrepancy disappears when compared to individuals with chronic physical illness. The psychopathology (maladaptive behaviour, psychiatric illness, personality disorder and overall mental disorder) of 150 individuals with a mental handicap and epilepsy both from hospital and the community was studied, and compared to an individually matched control group of 150 individuals with a mental handicap who did not sustain epilepsy. Fifty five percent of the total population, representing 58% of individuals with epilepsy and 53% of individuals without epilepsy, showed severe maladaptive behaviour. The difference between the groups with and without epilepsy was not significant. However, individuals resident in hospital showed significantly higher rates of severe maladaptive behaviour compared to individuals who were resident in the community. Nearly 25% of the whole group, representing 19% of the individuals with epilepsy and 31% of individuals without epilepsy, had a diagnosis of a psychiatric illness. The difference between those with epilepsy and those without was significant. Twenty-seven percent of mild to moderately mentally handicapped individuals with epilepsy, compared to 25% of individuals without epilepsy, had an abnormal personality. This difference was not statistically significant, although the hospital residents had a significantly higher rate of abnormal personality compared to individuals resident in the community.


Date of award


Author affiliation

College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • MD



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