Epilepsy as a Spectrum Disorder, in the current issue of EpilepsyUSA.
Depression, migraines, learning disorders, autism, ADHD, and Alzheimer's all have high associations with epilepsy.
Unfortunately, many clinicians only have time--or the inclination, or the expertise--to treat seizures. If they can get a patient's seizures under control, they often consider their jobs complete, while the patients continue to suffer quietly from other less salient conditions.
The upside of recognizing these associations is that with emerging insights into the relationship between epilepsy and other psychiatric and neurological problems, neuroscientists are getting a more comprehensive picture of the deeper workings of the whole brain. A consensus is emerging among researchers that epilepsy is better viewed, and treated, not simply as a disorder defined by seizures, but as something more complex and nuanced, more explicitly interrelated with other illnesses.
That's one reason many top neuroscientists argue epilepsy research should be a priority investment. When we understand what causes seizures, on a deep level, we'll also have keys to the doors of many other brain-related problems. And to an understanding of the well functioning brain, too.