Depression Is Common in Mothers of Kids with Epilepsy

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- Depressive symptoms are common in mothers of children with newly diagnosed epilepsy, and they follow four distinct trajectories, new data suggest.

Researchers in Ontario evaluated 339 mothers of children aged 4-12 years with new-onset epilepsy who were enrolled in the national, prospective Health-Related Quality of Life of Children With Epilepsy Study (HERQULES).

About one-third of the mothers were at risk for clinical depression during the first 24 months after diagnosis, Mark Ferro reported in a poster at the conference. The prevalence of women with depressive symptoms, as measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, was 38% at baseline, 30% at 6 months, 32% at 12 months, and 30% at 24 months.

Previous cross-sectional studies have reported similar rates, but the surprise finding was that maternal depressive symptoms followed four distinct trajectories: high decreasing, moderate increasing, borderline, and low stable, said Mr. Ferro, a doctoral student in epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Western Ontario, London.

The researchers had anticipated just three trajectories, but found that some women fell in and out of risk for depression. Although the reason for this borderline trajectory is unclear, Mr. Ferro suggests that it may reflect the unpredictable nature of epilepsy, or a family's search for effective pharmacologic or cognitive-based therapies to manage their child's illness.

"There's a big trial-and-error period during the first 2 years after diagnosis," he said. …

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