Depression affects a large proportion of patients with epilepsy, and is likely due in part to biological mechanism. Hormonal dysregulation due to the disruptive effects of seizures and interictal epileptiform discharges on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis likely contributes to high rates of depression in epilepsy.
This paper reviews the largely unexplored role of neuroendocrine factors in epilepsy-related depression, focusing on Growth Hormone (GH). While GH deficiency is traditionally considered a childhood disorder manifested by impaired skeletal growth, GH deficiency in adulthood is now recognized as a serious disorder characterized by impairments in multiple domains including mood and quality of life.
Could high rates of depression in patients with epilepsy relate to subtle GH deficiency? Because GH replacement therapy has been shown to improve mood and quality of life in patients with GH deficiency, this emerging area may hold promise for patients suffering from epilepsy-related depression.