Screening for anxiety, depression and suicidality by epilepsy specialists in adult services in Scotland

David C Gillespie, Susan E Duncan, Bethany Iona Flewitt, Riccardo Sacripante, Richard F Chin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

OBJECTIVE: Clinical guidelines recommend screening people with epilepsy (PWE) regularly for mental distress, but it is unclear how guidelines are implemented. We surveyed epilepsy specialists in adult Scottish services to determine approaches used to screen for anxiety, depression, and suicidality; the perceived difficulty of screening; factors associated with intention to screen; and treatment decisions made following positive screens.

METHODS: An anonymous email-based questionnaire survey of epilepsy nurses and epilepsy neurology specialists (n = 38) was conducted.

RESULTS: Two in every three specialists used a systematic screening approach; a third did not. Clinical interview was employed more often than standardized questionnaire. Clinicians reported positive attitudes towards screening but found screening difficult to implement. Intention to screen was associated with favorable attitude, perceived control, and social norm. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions were proposed equally often for those screening positive for anxiety or depression.

CONCLUSION: Routine screening for mental distress is carried out in Scottish epilepsy treatment settings but is not universal. Attention should be paid to clinician factors associated with screening, such as intention to screen and resulting treatment decisions. These factors are potentially modifiable, offering a means of closing the gap between guideline recommendations and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109187
JournalEpilepsy & Behavior
Early online date30 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Mar 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Humans
  • Adult
  • Depression/diagnosis
  • Suicide
  • Anxiety/diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders/complications
  • Epilepsy/diagnosis


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