PURPOSE: We investigated the incidence of well-directed violent behavior and suicide attempts in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, with special attention to postictal psychosis.
METHODS: We compared 57 episodes of postictal psychosis with 62 episodes of acute interictal (or alternative) psychosis and with 134 complex partial seizures. All patients were matched for age and for age at onset of seizures.
RESULTS: The incidence of well-directed violent behavior against human beings was significantly higher (23%) during postictal psychotic episodes than during acute interictal episodes (5%) and postictal confusion (1%). Suicide attempts were also more frequent during postictal psychosis (7%) than during either acute interictal psychosis (2%) or postictal confusion (0%).
CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed that well-directed violent and self-destructive behavior was not a feature of epileptic psychosis in general but a specific hallmark of postictal psychosis.
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