Obsessive-compulsive symptoms and their impacts on psychosocial functioning in people with epilepsy

Ji-Hye Seo, Won-Kee Lee, Sung-Pa Park
Journal of Clinical Neurology 2014, 10 (2): 125-32

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) in people with epilepsy (PWE) have not been studied systematically. We evaluated the severity, predictors, and psychosocial impact of OCS in PWE.

METHODS: We recruited PWE who visited our epilepsy clinic and age-, gender-, and education-matched healthy controls. Both PWE and healthy controls completed the Maudsley Obsessional-Compulsive Inventory (MOCI), which measures OCS. PWE also completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory-31 (QOLIE-31). We examined the severity of OCS in PWE relative to healthy controls. Predictors of OCS and the QOLIE-31 score were measured by regression analyses. A path analysis model was constructed to verify interrelations between the variables.

RESULTS: The MOCI total score was significantly higher in PWE than in healthy controls (p=0.002). OCS were found in 20% of eligible patients. The strongest predictor of the MOCI total score was the BDI score (β=0.417, p<0.001), followed by EEG abnormality (β=0.194, p<0.001) and etiology (β=0.107, p=0.031). Epileptic syndrome, the side of the epileptic focus, and action mechanisms of antiepileptic drugs did not affect the MOCI total score. The strongest predictor of the QOLIE-31 overall score was the BDI score (β=-0.569, p<0.001), followed by seizure control (β=-0.163, p<0.001) and the MOCI total score (β=-0.148, p=0.001). The MOCI total score directly affected the QOLIE-31 overall score and also exerted indirect effects on the QOLIE-31 overall score through seizure control and the BDI score.

CONCLUSIONS: OCS are more likely to develop in PWE than in healthy people. The development of OCS appears to elicit psychosocial problems directly or indirectly by provoking depression or uncontrolled seizures.

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