In my most recent newsletter from the terrific website epilepsy.com, I read about a study of mothers and their children with epilepsy. Here's the excerpt, and while I need to find the whole study and read it, I can't help but think no shit, Sherlock. What do we do about it, though?
In the August 2011 issue of Epilepsy Research, Doctors Akay and colleagues from the Dokuz Eylul University School of Medicine in Izmir, Turkey present an interesting analysis addressing caretakers of children with epilepsy. Much attention has been paid to the quality of life to the individual with epilepsy, but oftentimes it is unclear what impact the diagnosis of epilepsy can have on those who care for these individuals. In the study conducted out of the department of pediatric neurology, 50 children with epilepsy and their mothers agreed to join the study. These individuals were compared to a control group recruited from a local school near the same university hospital. The study assessed what impact from an emotional standpoint does the diagnosis of epilepsy have on mothers with children with epilepsy as based on their performance on a Beck Depression Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Parental Attitude Research Instrument, and Family Assessment Device.
The investigators reported that mothers whose children had epilepsy scored higher with depression and anxiety compared to mothers of the control group. The authors concluded that for mothers of children who have epilepsy, the epilepsy may have an adverse impact on the caretakers’ lives as demonstrated by the higher propensity towards anxiety and depression.
This study is a fascinating one due to the fact it highlights that epilepsy did not just affect the one individual with seizures, but seems to permeate through the entire social support structure for any given patient. The study is another reminder that in managing individuals with seizures we need to give due consideration to the caretaker’s family members who are also involved in their care so as to make sure that we improve their quality of life as well as the individual with seizures.