Neuropsychology Review

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 364–375 | Cite as

A Systematic Review of Psychiatric and Psychosocial Comorbidities of Genetic Generalised Epilepsies (GGE)

  • A. Loughman
  • N. A. Bendrups
  • W. J. D’Souza


Psychiatric disorders and associated poor psychosocial outcomes are recognised to be a common sequelae of epilepsy. The extent to which this is true of genetic generalised epilepsies (GGE), particularly syndromes other than juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is unclear. This systematic review synthesises findings regarding psychiatric and associated comorbidities in adults and children with GGE. Systematic review yielded 34 peer-reviewed studies of psychiatric and psychosocial outcomes in adults and children with GGE. Clinically significant psychiatric comorbidity was reported in over half of all children and up to a third of all adults with GGE. There was no evidence to support the presence of personality traits specific to JME or other syndromes; rather rates mirrored community samples. A small number of studies report poor psychosocial outcomes in GGE, however the interpretation of these findings is limited by paucity of healthy comparison groups. Some evidence suggests that anti-epileptic drug polytherapy in children and seizure burden at all ages may constitute risk factors for psychopathology. Findings highlight the importance of early screening so as not to overlook early or developing symptoms of psychopathology.


Idiopathic/genetic generalised epilepsy Psychiatric comorbidity Psychopathology Psychosocial 



Amy Loughman was supported by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Public Health Scholarship. The authors would like to thank Stephen Bowden for his guidance on methodological and interpretive issues.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11065_2016_9333_MOESM1_ESM.docx (113 kb)
Online Resource 1 Methodologic detail of included studies (DOCX 113 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Loughman
    • 1
    • 2
  • N. A. Bendrups
    • 1
  • W. J. D’Souza
    • 3
  1. 1.Melbourne School of Psychological SciencesUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.School of Health & Biomedical Sciences, College of Science, Engineering & HealthRMIT UniversityBundooraAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Department of MedicineSt Vincent’s Hospital, The University of MelbourneFitzroyAustralia

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