Background: Depression is a common psychiatric disorder in epilepsy patients. A bidirectional interaction is thought to be present between epilepsy and depression. There are few studies of this relationship in Nigerian Africans. Objectives: This was a cross-sectional study of the frequency and pattern of depression in a cohort of epilepsy patients in Enugu, South East Nigeria. Materials and Methods: Adult patients with epilepsy seen at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, from May to September 2009 were assessed for depression using the Becks Inventory for Depression. Informed consent was obtained from each patient. Clinical data obtained were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, version 15. The hospital’s ethical review committee approved the study. Results: In all, 83 subjects were studied (50 males and 33 females). They were aged from 18 to 75 years, with an average of 29.87 years. Most subjects were <25 years of age, single (53, 64%) and had at least secondary school education (65, 78%). Depression was present in 71 (85.5%) subjects – minimal 57 (68.7%), mild 10 (12%), and moderate 4 (4.8%). No case of severe depression was seen. Patients <25 years of age were the most affected. Depression was not significantly associated with age, gender, seizure type, or educational level. Conclusion: A significant proportion of Nigerian African epilepsy patients have depression, which may be easily overlooked, with far-reaching consequences on patients’ quality of life, morbidity, and mortality rates. There is need to regularly assess for and manage epilepsy-related depression in this population.
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