The constellation of symptoms that make up epilepsy differ in frequency and severity from child to child. About 25% of epileptic youngsters still have trouble controlling their seizures even taking anti-epileptic medication. Additionally, it is widely known that epilepsy in children is linked to issues with social skills, behavioral and emotional adjustment, academic performance, and other areas. These issues may continue even when seizures are effectively managed by antiepileptic drugs due to aberrant brain development or function, ongoing epileptic activity in the brain (without symptoms), or adverse consequences from antiepileptic drug use.
Epilepsy is a complicated condition that affects numerous facets of a child’s functioning and development. As a result, many of these kids are more likely to struggle in school, have a hard time interacting with their peers, have poor social skills, and have low self-esteem. It is crucial to establish a relationship between educators, families, and healthcare professionals in order to create and continuously assess a strategy for academic success as well as a plan for safety, managing emotional or behavioural dysregulation, and actively integrating students into society.
The different types of behavioural and developmental challenges often faced by children with epilepsy are:
The mood issue that is most frequently linked to epilepsy is depression. But it can frequently go unnoticed and untreated in those who have the illness, particularly in kids. Depression caused by epilepsy can happen before, during, or after seizures, but it is most frequently linked to times in between seizures.
The signs and symptoms of depression differ greatly from person to person. Sleep difficulties, weariness or listlessness, lack of excitement, and frequent emotional outbursts are those that epilepsy patients most frequently experience. Depression frequently coexists with other behavioural problems, such as anxiety, agitation, frustration, or impulsive actions.
Although the exact origin of depression in people with epilepsy is unknown, both internal and environmental factors are likely to contribute to the condition.
Attention Deficit Disorder
In children with epilepsy, attention deficit disorder, whether it manifests as hyperactivity or not, is regarded as a prevalent behavioural issue. Nearly 8% of youngsters with epilepsy are thought to struggle with attention. The neurobehavioral disorder attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) generally makes people easily distracted, frustrated, fidgety, impulsive, and forgetful. Regardless of a person’s cognitive ability, the disease makes learning and social interactions challenging. Although ADHD is clinically diagnosed based on observation and medical history, mental health professionals and scientists concur that the illness has recognisable symptoms. The diagnosis can be aided by metrics like rating scales and feedback from parents and teachers.
Epilepsy-related anxiety disorders might manifest as persistent, all-encompassing worry, severe, overwhelming panic attacks, or obsessive-compulsive behaviours. The unpredictable nature and lack of control of seizures frequently lead to the diseases. Some epileptics may overestimate the harm posed by upcoming seizures or underestimate their ability to manage as a result of fear. Such ideas may result in physical symptoms that heighten the sense of helplessness.
Children with epilepsy frequently experience issues with impulse control. Aggression is among the most prevalent manifestations of impulsivity. The unpredictable nature of seizures and the person’s lack of control over them may lead to anger and irritability in people with epilepsy, while the exact causes of aggression in this population vary. Additionally, kids who are more badly affected and have communication issues could express their annoyance by acting assertive or even violent. As a person gets older, hostile actions often become less frequent and less severe. However, despair and anxiety might subsequently take the place of the aggressive tendencies.
Autism is a spectrum illness, or group of symptoms that includes repetitive activities, severe social dysfunction, and deficiencies in verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, Angelman syndrome, and other genetic illnesses might occasionally exhibit these behavioural issues. No consensus has been reached despite decades of research seeking to connect autism to a wide range of probable causes, and efficient medical treatments have not yet been discovered. There are, however, behavioural and educational approaches that have been created especially for autistic people.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Specialists underline that early detection and intervention are essential to enhancing quality of life and overall result due to the serious effects of epilepsy-related mental health concerns. It is advised by experts that individuals with epilepsy have their mental health and behavioral issues assessed by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker. These experts can assist in creating a strategy for managing and/or treating these issues to lessen their effects.
In addition, children with epilepsy may require assistance and support in figuring out how to deal with the social effects of having a seizure disorder, such as how to talk to their friends about epilepsy and their fear of having seizures. For young people, knowledge is power, therefore providing information and emotional support can enable a kid to start managing their disease. An crucial component in achieving this goal is parental support and direction. Your child will feel more empowered and confident if you help them understand what epilepsy is, how their brains function, and what happens during a seizure.
Among the many problems that epilepsy children may face are behavioral and mental health issues. The psychological repercussions of epilepsy can vary greatly, much as physical manifestations. While some epileptics experience little to no mental health problems, others may struggle with incapacitating attentional, anxiety, or mood disorders. To lessen the effects these problems may have on a person’s long-term quality of life, it is crucial to treat them early and with the proper forms of intervention.