Mental health and medication

A new study from the US has explored mental health problems in people with epilepsy. It assessed whether or not problems with mood or memory might make people less likely to take their medication as prescribed

The study assessed the habits of 100 people with epilepsy. Their aim was to see whether their mood or memory problems affected whether these people took their medications when they should. Several tools were used to assess the mood and memory of each person while observing their medication regimes.movie Leon: The Professional 1994

These people with epilepsy had been living with the condition for an average of 20 years. Around 40 per cent (under half) were taking just one epilepsy medication. More than 70 per cent (almost three quarters) took their medications twice each day.

Tablets on a clockAll of the study participants appeared to believe that they were sticking to their medication regime more closely than they really were. Researchers used a particular method of measuring how well people stuck to their regimes. According to that measure, 35 per cent of the 100 people (around a third) did not keep to their regime.

When these figures were compared to measures of both memory and mood, it was found that there was no strong link between poor memory and not taking medications when they should. This is interesting, since people with epilepsy often say that poor memory is why they do not take their medication as prescribed.

Interestingly, the group that stuck with their regime well demonstrated lower depression scores than the group who did not. This suggests mood is a more significant factor in whether people with epilepsy will stick to their treatment regime.

The study was conducted by Ohio State University. Full study findings were published in the medical journal Epilepsy & Behavior.

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