Epilepsy, the most common neurological disorder in children, may present with many psychiatric comorbidities, the most common of which is depression.
We evaluated the frequency of depressive symptoms in epileptic children, with regard to the possible association between depression and their demographic data or seizure-related variables.
This cohort study was conducted on 80 children (6-13 years old) diagnosed as idiopathic epilepsy and were regularly recruiting the pediatric neurology clinic at Minya University Children Hospital. The Structured Birleson Depression Scale Questionnaire was used for assessment of presence of depressive symptoms, and Quality Of Life in Epilepsy (QOLIE-31) score was used to assess quality of life in those patients.
Depressive symptoms were found in 37.5% of enrolled patients. There were statistically significant differences between the patients with depressive symptoms and the other group regarding age (=0.001), residence (=0.006) and past history of mood disorders (=0.03). Sleep disturbance was the highest predictor of depression in cases with depressive symptoms, detected in 90% of cases, followed by appetite disturbance in 86.6% of cases, while delusions and hallucinations were the lowest, detected in only 10% of cases. Both duration of epilepsy and frequency of seizures were significantly higher in cases with depressive symptoms than the other group (=0.001) for both. QOLIE score was significantly lower in cases with depressive symptoms than the other group (= 0.01 for all).
Depressive symptoms are common in epileptic children, and it is often challenging and underestimated. It should be screened during the management of such children. Early diagnosis and more comprehensive package of care for depression in epileptic children will enable them to have a better quality of life.

© 2021 Shehata et al.