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Comorbid Depressive Disorders in Epilepsy

  • Andres M. Kanner and Andrew J. Cole


A 27-year-old woman presented to the emergency room after having witnessed generalized tonic clonic seizure while asleep. Birth and development were normal. She had suffered a single febrile seizure at 13 months of age, but had no other seizure risk factors. She was otherwise well except for a history of depression for which she was taking sertraline. Depressive symptoms had been well controlled over the past 3 months, but she had been under increased stress working to finish a doctoral thesis. Neurological examination was normal. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed modest asymmetry of the hippocampi, slightly smaller on the right, but no abnormal signal and well-preserved laminar anatomy. An electroencephalogram was negative. She was discharged from the emergency room with no treatment. Three weeks later, the patient's boyfriend witnessed an episode of behavioral arrest with lip smacking and swallowing automatisms lasting 45 seconds, after which the patient was confused for 20–30 minutes. The next morning she and her boyfriend kept a previously scheduled appointment with a neurologist.



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