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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 43 (2001) 10, 683 - 691

New research

Personality disorders in patients admitted to an epilepsy clinic

J.L.H. van der Peet, W.A.M. Swinkels, I.J. Duijsens

background The impression exists that there is a difference in the presence of psychiatric complains between patients with epilepsy, patients with psychogenic pseudo-epileptic attacks (ppeas) and patients with a combination of epilepsy and ppeas.
aim To determine personality disorders in three patient groups and a control group of healthy individuals.
method Personality disorders were investigated in a group of epilepsy patients, a group of patients with psychogenic pseudo-epileptic attacks and a group of patients with both epilepsy and psychogenic pseudo-epileptic attacks, by means of the Questionnaire on Personality Traits. The results were compared with a control group of 332 healthy persons.
results Compared with the control group, both patients of the epilepsy group and the mixed group had significantly higher scores for the schizoid, antisocial, histrionic, dependent, passiveaggressive and depressive personality disorders. Patients with psychogenic pseudo-epileptic attacks had significantly higher scores for the schizoid and antisocial personality disorders, compared with the control group. Comparing the three patient groups, significant differences were found for the histrionic and passive-aggressive personality disorders.
conclusions Patients admitted to an epilepsy clinic have higher scores for personality disorders than persons in the control group. This is true for patients with epilepsy and patients with a combination of epilepsy and psychogenic pseudo-epileptic attacks.

keywords epilepsy, personality disorders, psychogenic pseudo-epileptic attacks, Questionnaire on Personality Traits