Epilepsy Increases Psychiatric Risk in Children, Study Says

Children with epilepsy are more likely to have psychiatric symptoms, Norwegian scientists claimed Friday.

Researchers at Oslo University Hospital's National Center for Epilepsy said that gender was also a determining factor in the types of problems children with epilepsy would suffer.

Girls were more likely to have emotional problems, the study found, while boys were at greater risk of suffering from hyperactivity, inattention problems and issues regarding peer relationships.

Dr. Kristin Alfstad and her team studied data from 14,699 health questionnaires completed by the parents of children aged eight to 13 years old, with around 110 of the children suffering from epilepsy.

The responses showed that 38 percent of parents with children with epilepsy reported that their children had psychiatric symptoms, compared with 17 percent of the children without epilepsy.

The study, published in the journal Epilepsia, said that 33 percent of children aged eight to nine years old with epilepsy experienced psychiatric symptoms, compared with 41 percent of children aged 10 to 13 years old.

"The wish 'to be like the others' and to participate in different activities as an equal may be issues of particular importance for children with epilepsy," said Alfstad.