New research from Trinity College Dublin and the Rollege College of Surgeons has identified a potential link between the prevalence of hallucinations associated with seizures and suicide risk.
The study, which was co-autored by a number of leading researchers in Ireland and the United States, was recently published in renowned epilepsy medical journal - Epilepsia.
The study involved a total of 14,812 adults with a history of seizures with 8% of participants reporting hallucinatory experiences. The key finding from the study came within this 8% cohort as it was established that 65% met criteria for one or more mental health disorders and 53% had one or more suicide attempt.
Commenting on the findings of the study, Dr Ian Kelleher, Research Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Trinity and Senior Author of the study said: "People with epilepsy are known to be at increased risk of suicide. But among individuals with seizures, it's hard to pick out who is most at risk. What this research shows is that people with seizures who report hallucinations are a particularly high-risk group for suicidal behaviour - about half of these individuals had one or more suicide attempt. So, it's important in epilepsy clinics to ask about hallucinations - and where someone endorses these symptoms, to carefully examine their mental state."
The study goes on to conclude that hallucinatory experiences associated with seizures are a key marker for high risk mental health disorders and suicide risk. It states that clinicians should routinely ask about possible hallucinatory experiences when meeting with patients.
If you are experiencing hallucinations, we would add that it is important that you discuss this directly with your medical team.
We would like to congratulate all involved in this research paper which again highlights the high calibre of epilepsy research that is taking place right here in Ireland.
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