Updated: Jan 25
REN acknowledges that other organizations recognize differences between “mental health conditions” versus “mental illnesses” as a diagnosis. We are respectfully following the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) direction in using the term “mental illness/es” for this blog post.
October 3rd-9th celebrates Mental Illness Awareness Week. During this time, awareness is raised about the many different forms of mental illness, and resources are shared to reach those who may be struggling with a mental illness.
Although epilepsy does not cause mental illness, many of the factors that might cause or result from rare epilepsies, can impact and cause mental illness as well. A paper titled Comorbidities of Rare Epilepsies: Results from the Rare Epilepsy Network reporter that 71% of the 795 people studied (representing more than 30 different rare epilepsy diagnosis groups) were found to have mental illness comorbidities. Mental illness is a broad category of disorders and according to the Epilepsy Foundation of Australia, “may arise due to the stress of living with a chronic health condition – in epilepsy; this is often related to the unpredictable nature of seizures and the worry about when another one might occur. In some cases, a diagnosis of depression can also increase the risk of seizure activity.”
Mental illness may be treatable and there are many articles and resources available for those who might be suffering from mental illness:
This resource provides information on multiple mental illnesses and how they relate to epilepsy.
A leader in promoting awareness and resources for those with mental illness, NAMI has information on Anxiety Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Depression, Early Psychosis and Psychosis, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
Here you can find resources for children and adults alike along with more specialized resources for coping with traumatic events (especially helpful for caregivers and siblings).
A letter to the Editor was published in Epilepsy Behavior titled Mental Health Considerations for Patients with Epilepsy during the COVID-19 Crisis describing additional stressors for both persons with epilepsy and their caregivers including isolation, access to treatment and medication, and economic insecurity.
Disclaimer: These resources are provided as a courtesy; however, we are not endorsing any organizations or providing medical advice.