LIVING WITH EPILEPSY

Unless you have epilepsy, it is impossible to truly understand everything one goes through to manage seizures. The impact can touch many aspects of your life.

Emotional –

you may feel alone, embarrassed, or worried about when the next seizure will occur

Social –

you may feel rejected by peers or worried about joining a group for what you think they may say, and you may face social and cultural stigmas from others’ lack of knowledge

Professional –

you may find it difficult to find a job or work in certain occupations

Financial –

you may have fears about your financial security due to employment concerns

Health –

you may be more susceptible to physical injury from convulsions, falls, or accidents

KNOW THE EPILEPSY FACTS

It is important to learn as much as you possibly can about epilepsy and its symptoms. By knowing the facts about epilepsy, such as how many people have epilepsy and current treatment options, you can be more prepared to deal with epilepsy. Did you know?

  • About 3 million people in the US have epilepsy
  • Epilepsy affects people of all ages and races
  • 1 in every 26 people in the US will suffer from epilepsy at some time in his or her life
  • In about 60% of people who have epilepsy, the cause is unknown

Helpful information is being published all the time. To learn more, visit the Epilepsy Foundation® Web site.

TIPS FOR SEIZURE CONTROL

Choosing an epilepsy medication.

Today there are many different treatment options for epilepsy for you and your doctor to choose from. The choice of medicine is specific to each person and depends on:

  • Type of seizure
  • Frequency and severity of seizures
  • Tolerance of side effects
  • Age and lifestyle
  • Potential for pregnancy
  • Overall health

Find what works for you.

It may take time to find a treatment plan that works for you. Be patient and remember to:

  • Take your medicine exactly as prescribed
  • Tell your health care provider about any new seizures or side effects that you may experience

Always talk with your health care provider before you do anything different with your medicine.

Epileptic seizure triggers.

A seizure trigger is something that can cause you to have a seizure. It is a good idea to keep track of events that may be related to your seizures in your seizure diary, such as how you were feeling or what you were doing leading up to a seizure.

Common seizure triggers may include:

  • Missing a dose of epilepsy medication
  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of sleep or extreme fatigue
  • Being sensitive to bright lights
  • Playing video games

PLAN AHEAD WITH EPILEPSY

Keeping a positive outlook and focusing on the things you can do, are the keys to developing a strong sense of self-esteem and independence. Here are a few tips for coping with epilepsy, day-to-day.

Stick with your epilepsy treatment plan.

Take your medicine exactly as prescribed, without missing any doses. The more closely you stick with your treatment plan, the better your chances of reducing the frequency of your partial-onset seizures.

Know your state’s epilepsy driving regulations.

Driving with epilepsy can certainly have its challenges. When it comes to driving, every state has different laws and regulations. To find out your state's driving regulations, click here.

Keep a seizure diary.

Keep a seizure diary to track the frequency, and if you’re able to, the duration of your partial-onset seizures.

  • Watch for common triggers of your partial-onset seizures
  • Make a note of any feelings or cues that let you know when a partial-onset seizure is coming
DOWNLOAD YOUR EPILEPSY SEIZURE DIARY

Be active, but know your boundaries for exercising with epilepsy.

You may be able to live an active lifestyle if you have epilepsy, but be sure to talk with your doctor first to find out which activities are okay.

Take seizure safety precautions.

Safeguard your home to take extra precaution from accidental injury. Use plastic containers rather than glass, avoid cooking over an open flame, consider carpet over hardwood flooring for soft cushioning, and avoid locking bedroom and bathroom doors, just in case.

Wear an epilepsy ID bracelet or carry an epilepsy card.

Let others know you have epilepsy by wearing a medical ID bracelet with the word epilepsy on the back, or carry a card with instructions on what to do if a partial-onset seizure occurs.

Try following an epilepsy diet plan.

In addition to your medication, following a ketogenic diet for epilepsy may help to control seizures in some people. The ketogenic diet plan is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. When carbohydrates are not available to the body for fuel, fat becomes the primary fuel instead. When the body uses fat for its source of energy, ketones are formed. Higher ketone levels in the body may help improve seizure control.

Remember to talk to your doctor about an epilepsy diet plan that could help reduce the frequency of your seizures.

TALKING ABOUT EPILEPSY AND PARTIAL-ONSET SEIZURES WITH OTHERS

Sometimes coping with the reactions of other people can be the most difficult part of living with epilepsy. While epilepsy is more common than most people realize, it is often misunderstood. This is partly because partial-onset seizures can happen abruptly, leaving others feeling afraid or uncertain of what to do or how to help.

The more epilepsy education you can give those around you, the more support you’ll have in the long run. Remember, the people in your life care about you. So keep a positive outlook, a strong sense of self-esteem, and be your own best advocate.

PROVIDE EPILEPSY EDUCATION FOR YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, BOSS, AND COWORKERS

Epilepsy Education

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View the Interactive Medication Guide (in English)

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