Electrophysiology of Seizure Disorders May Hold Key to the Pathophysiology of Psychiatric Disorders
Despite the increasing burden of mental illness, social stigma and fears that psychological and emotional problems are a sign of character weakness prevent most sufferers from seeking treatment. These barriers are reinforced by diagnostic ambiguity, frequent drug side effects, variable treatment success, and a lack of clarity about the cause of mental illness. Much more progress has been made with epilepsy, a closely related group of disorders for which the pathophysiology is better understood. Although psychiatric disorders and seizure disorders are known to be distinctly different conditions, they have many shared features including their disruptive effects on mentation, their migratory nature, and their responsiveness to anticonvulsant drugs. In addition, a comparative analysis of the two disorder-types strongly suggests that they have shared mechanisms of symptom production, symptom progression, and symptom prevention. In this side-by-side comparison of the two disorder-types, I will discuss how the electrophysiological patterns that underlie seizure initiation and migration help explain how psychiatric symptoms develop and morph into one another, thus providing important insights into the pathophysiology of mental illness and potentially serving as a guide to the development of more effective treatments.
Michael Raymond Binder,
Electrophysiology of Seizure Disorders May Hold Key to the Pathophysiology of Psychiatric Disorders, American Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine.
Vol. 7, No. 5,
2019, pp. 103-110.
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