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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 24, Issue 1, Pages 21-25

Ictal and Peri-Ictal Psychopathology

Marco Mula and Francesco Monaco

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Amedeo Avogadro University, Division of Neurology, University Hospital Maggiore della Carità, Novara, Italy

Received 23 March 2011; Accepted 23 March 2011

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Patients with epilepsy may experience psychiatric symptoms preceding the seizure (pre-ictal), following the seizure (post-ictal), independently of seizure occurrence (interictal), or as an expression of the seizure (ictal). Compared to interictal, peri-ictal psychiatric symptoms are less investigated and recognized. However, they contribute substantially to disability and distress among people with epilepsy.

The relationship between interictal and periictal symptoms is still largely unknown but it seems that they are intimately related in epilepsy. Greater appreciation and understanding of the periictal period is clinically important, providing a model for understanding basic mechanisms underlying mood and thought disorders and the substrates of cognition, volition, emotion, and consciousness.

The present paper is aimed at reviewing major psychiatric symptoms that may occur around the ictus with special attention to clinical descriptions and relationships with interictal psychopathology.