An epilepsy diagnosis doesn't mean the end of a productive or fulfilling life. But it does mean adjustment and change.
With the support of your doctor, loved ones and mostly yourself, the challenges of epilepsy can be overcome.
Get good medical care
Find a doctor you trust and feel comfortable with. Effective epilepsy treatment requires good communication, so you need to be able to talk freely. Talk to your doctor about:
- The effectiveness and side effects of your medications.
- The characteristics, triggers and frequency of your seizures.
- Signs of depression or sudden mood changes.
- Loss of memory.
Most of the responsibility for your epilepsy care belongs to you. The Epilepsy Foundation says these are some of the best ways to take care of yourself:
- Always take your medication as prescribed. Ask your doctor ahead of time what to do about a missed dose.
- Get enough sleep. Seizures may increase if you're tired.
- Relax. Being stressed can trigger seizures.
- Avoid flickering light patterns. These can bring on seizures. Wear polarized sunglasses outside, sit back from the TV or computer screen, take frequent breaks, and cover one eye when approaching the screen.
- Be careful with alcohol. It can interact with your medications or cause seizures.
- Don't do drugs. Some illegal drugs can cause seizures in people who don't even have epilepsy.
- Wear a medical identification bracelet, and carry a first aid card. If you have a seizure away from home, this will tell people what to do.
You're not alone
It might help to remind yourself that more than 3 million Americans live with epilepsy. Most are going to school or work, building families and leading full lives.
For information about epilepsy support services, visit the Epilepsy Foundation's website at epilepsyfoundation.org.