Peri-ictal psychiatric manifestations in people with epilepsy: An umbrella review

Carlos Alva-Diaz, Miguel Cabanillas-Lazo, Alba Navarro-Flores, Raisa N. Martinez-Rivera, Maria Valdeiglesias-Abarca, Krystel Acevedo-Marino, Kevin Pacheco-Barrios, Ramiro Ruiz-Garcia, Jorge Burneo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: We aimed to conduct an umbrella review to summarize the existing evidence regarding the prevalence of peri-ictal psychiatric manifestations (PM) in people with epilepsy (PWE) including pre-ictal, ictal, and postictal stages. Methods: Databases were searched up to June 2023 for systematic reviews (SR) of observational studies that included patients with epilepsy peri-ictal PM. Data selection, data extraction, and risk of bias assessment (with the AMSTAR-2 instrument) were performed by two independent reviewers. We performed a narrative synthesis using previous guidelines. We used a self-developed decision table according to the GRADE system adapted for narrative outcomes if the certainty of outcomes was not determined by systematic review authors. Results: Four SRs were included comprising 66 primary studies (n = 10 217). Three SRs evaluated one period (pre-ictal, ictal, and postictal), and one did not determine it. During the pre-ictal period, the more prevalent symptom was confusion, although with a low certainty (due to the heterogeneity and serious risk of bias). One systematic review that only included case reports evaluated the ictal period, finding mood/anxiety disorders, psychosis, and personality changes. The postictal period included the most PM (anxiety: 45.0% and depressive symptoms: 43.0%), with very low certainty, due to risk of bias, potential publication bias, heterogeneity, and failure to report the confidence intervals. Significance: With very low certainty, epileptic periods are characterized by a wide spectrum of PM, being postictal symptoms the most prevalent, predominantly anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Further understanding of these PM of epilepsy could improve the attention of the people with epilepsy. Plain Language Summary: In this review of reviews, we summarize the frequency in which psychiatric manifestations occur in relation to an epileptic seizure. A total of 10 217 patients were reported in the reviews. The most common manifestations included symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as changes in the normal behavior of the patient. These manifestations occurred most frequently right after the seizure finished.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEpilepsia Open
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders
  • epilepsy
  • mental disorder
  • prevalence
  • systematic review


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