Personality in epilepsy.

Samuel Livingston, MD
JAMA. 1963;184(1):81. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700140137031.
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Much has been written in the past about the existence of an "epileptic personality." Almost every type of behavioral and personality aberration has been assigned to the epileptic as a manifestation of his "epileptic personality." Even today, many laymen, and also some physicians, express the attitude that most epileptics have or will subsequently develop "psychopathic personalities." None of these attitudes, however, is based on scientifically valid information.

Guerrant and co-workers present the first comprehensive, controlled study relative to the personality of the epileptic. Their study is based on three groups of patients: one with psychomotor epilepsy, one with grand mal epilepsy, and the third with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, and bronchiectasis.

It is well known that many epileptics present emotional problems. The findings of these workers corroborate this fact. However, they demonstrated that the two epileptic groups (psychomotor and grand mal) were only slightly more


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