Epilepsy is a brain disorder. People with epilepsy have neurons that produce abnormal electrical activity that causes seizures. In some cases, a seizure can cause twitching, uncontrolled movements and loss of consciousness. In other cases, seizures cause only a period of confusion, a staring spell or muscle spasms.
A single seizure is not considered epilepsy. People with epilepsy have repeated episodes of seizures.
Epilepsy is neither a mental illness nor a sign of low intelligence. Nor is it contagious. Seizures, typically, do not cause brain damage. In between seizures, a person with epilepsy is no different from others.
What should I do when a person has a seizure?
If you have epilepsy, you may want to share the following information with your family, friends and coworkers. If a person who is around you has a seizure, follow these general guidelines:
- Stay calm.
- Do not move the person to another place.
- Do not attempt to prevent the person from moving or shaking.
- Do not try to wake the person shouting or shaking.
- Delete any items that could cause injury if the person falls or bumps into them.
- Turn the person gently to the side so you can drive, safely, any liquid having in the mouth.
- Never attempt to open the mouth of the person or insert any object in it.
- Place something soft (like a pillow) under your head.
- Most seizures are not life-threatening. You should not call a doctor or an ambulance, unless it is known that the person has epilepsy or unless the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes.
- When the seizure has finished, watch the person for signs of confusion. Let it rest or sleep if desired.
If I have epilepsy, should I take the medication every day?
Yes, you must take your medicine every day, even when not having seizures, or when he thinks he will not have a seizure. To prevent seizures, take the medicine regularly, exactly as directed by your doctor.
What should I do if I forget my medicine?
Generally, you should take your medicine as soon as you realize you forgot a dose. If more than 24 hours since taking the last dose, call your doctor for instructions.
Should I take an additional medication if I think I'm having a seizure?
No. The amount of drugs taken for epilepsy is carefully attached to their own specific needs. You should not take more medication without your doctor's approval.
Should I take medicine forever?
It is possible that some people with epilepsy stop taking the medicine. However, your doctor should make this decision. Before you and your doctor may decide to discontinue the drug, several questions must be analyzed. These include the speed with which the seizures were controlled, the time has been seizure-free and have other diseases that may affect your problem.
Are there other treatments for epilepsy?
When you are diagnosed with epilepsy for the first time, usually, your doctor will begin to treat with medication. If that fails, your doctor may suggest surgery. The surgery is performed more commonly, if you know that your seizures begin in a well defined area of the brain that does not interfere with important functions like speech, language or hearing.
It other cases, your doctor may recommend a type of therapy called vagus nerve stimulation. This requires a small device implanted under the skin in the chest. The device sends an electrical pulse to the brain.
One type of treatment for children with epilepsy involves a strict diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates. This diet is called ketogenic diet.
Considering all treatments, your doctor will determine the best treatment for you.
Can I take other drugs while taking medicine for epilepsy?
Because many drugs affect the capacity of its epilepsy drug to control seizures, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking other drugs, including drugs you buy without a prescription.
Can I drink alcohol if I have epilepsy?
You should avoid alcohol if you have epilepsy. Alcohol may promote the development of a seizure and can also affect how the drug for epilepsy acts in the body.
When should I call my doctor?
- The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
- Was injured during the seizure.
- Changes the way that, generally, feel during a seizure and after this.
- Recovery takes longer than usual after having a seizure.
- Your seizures become more intense or more frequent.
- A second seizure occurs immediately after the first.
- You are pregnant.
- Have diabetes.
- It has a sudden headache, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, or has problems with vision or speech immediately before a seizure. These could be signs of a stroke.
- When you change your medicine for seizures or taking any other medications.
What if I get pregnant?
Uncontrolled seizures can affect the unborn baby. The epilepsy drug may also affect the unborn baby. After analyzing the risks and benefits, you and your doctor should make decisions about how to take the medication during pregnancy.
Can I drive if my seizures are under control?
Traffic laws for people with epilepsy are different in each state. Ask your local epilepsy foundation on traffic laws or consult your doctor.