Psychiatric illness and epilepsy commonly co-occur in adults and in children and adolescents. Theories of comorbidity are complex, but recurring associations between the conditions suggest overlap that is more than simple co-occurrence. Common underlying pathophysiology may imply that epilepsy itself may constituently include psychiatric symptoms. Conditions such as depression or cognitive difficulties commonly occur and in some cases, are considered to be associated with specific epilepsy characteristics such as localization or seizure type.
Regardless of etiologic attributions to psychiatric comorbidity, it is clear today that treatment for epilepsy needs to target psychiatric illness. In many cases, quality-of-life improvements depend more upon addressing psychiatric symptoms than seizures themselves.