February 1973

Psychomotor Epilepsy and Aggressive Behavior

Author Affiliations

From the Lafayette Clinic and Epilepsy Center of Michigan, Detroit.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(2):210-213. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750320044007

The literature states that patients with psychomotor epilepsy are prone to aggressive acting-out behavior. Of 150 epileptic patients whose seizures were photographed, 42 had ictal psychomotor automatisms and 15 had postictal psychomotor attacks. There was no instance of ictal or postictal aggression in this study. When there was danger of aggressive behavior, it could promptly be averted by abandoning restraint efforts.

To define the characteristics of the aggression prone individual, 700 charts were reviewed; 34 patients were found who had committed aggressive acts. The profile of the aggression-prone individual which emerged was that of a young man of lower-than-average intelligence with a history of behavioral difficulties dating back to school age and who did not have strong religious ties. Presence or absence of psychomotor epilepsy was not a relevant variable.