Auras as predictors of psychopathology associated with seizure disorders

Perry, Dean Allen (1987) Auras as predictors of psychopathology associated with seizure disorders. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Previous research has pointed to the importance of identifying seizure patients who are at risk for the development of psychopathology. Pre-ictal aura experiences have been suggested as phenomena mediated by limbic system involvement which may be related to psychopathology in seizure patients. The present study attempted to identify which seizure patients are at risk for the development of psychopathology, the psychological problems that this subgroup experiences, and to explore the question of whether an aura or set of auras are unique to a high risk group of seizure patients. The present study involved 114 seizure patients, 91 psychiatry patients, 28 dialysis patients, 15 diabetic patients, and 100 nonpatients. All subjects completed the Personal Behavior Inventory (PBI). Seizure patients provided information on aura experiences by completing the Aura Questionnaire. Background and medical information was also collected. Results indicated that seizure patients who were "misclassified" as psychiatry patients [seizure(psych)] by discriminant function analysis of PBI cluster scores reported giving a more philosophical interpretation to their lives, being more depressed, and having a greater variation in mood relative to other seizure patients, the chronic illness contrast groups (i.e., dialysis and diabetic patients), and normal controls. Seizure(psych) patients experienced a unique subgroup of auras with respect to intensity: (a) the perception of formed images; (b) the perception of humming or buzzing sounds; (c) irritability; (d) jamais vu; (e) the perception of time speeding up or slowing down. Data are presented which suggest that these five auras are likely due to seizure induced activation of the limbic system. Neither seizure(seiz) nor seizure(nonp) patients were found to experience a unique aura or subset of auras with respect to frequency and intensity. Background and medical information revealed seizure(psych) patients to be more likely to experience alcohol problems, utilize psychiatric facilities, and attempt suicide. Compulsivity was shown to be part of a sick person syndrome. Seizure diagnosis and anticonvulsant medication effects were shown to be unrelated to seizure patient PBI profiles. Implications of the results are discussed in terms of utilizing reported aura experiences for the identification of seizure patients who are at risk for the development of psychopathology.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5807
Item ID: 5807
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 70-74.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 1987
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Epileptics--Psychology; Aura

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