Living with epilepsy – you should find out about it!

You have epilepsy and sometimes that can be scary. Exploring the information on this website can help you feel good about your epilepsy. This website can help you understand what your body is doing and how you can control your epilepsy!

What is epilepsy? Is it a disease? It is not a disease. Epilepsy is a disorder/condition of the central nervous system, specifically the brain. A seizure occurs when your nerve cell activities start acting up and have issues.

This is a complex question, but for the majority of them, it is when the body convulses and there is a loss of consciousness. There are other abnormal behaviors that come along with the condition of epilepsy itself.

This is a tough thing that people do not understand. A seizure threshold determines how susceptible you are to having a seizure. Low threshold = more susceptible to having a seizure than others. Can it spread from person to person?

No, it’s not an STD or a cold! What would make you seize like right now? A seizure could strike from alcohol, drugs, extreme stress or anxiety, lack of sleep, flashing or flickering lights, loud noise, withdrawing from medications, concussions, or brain injuries. We are all different, and it can be trial and error. Do seizures cause brain damage? Some uncontrolled seizures can cause scar tissue which can interfere with cognitive functioning. If you take your medication then you won’t ever have another seizure, right?

Wrong. There are some people that will have a seizure, and then the rest of their life not have another. We are not sure why, but it happens. There is NO cure for epilepsy. That’s right, no cure even though 1 out of 26 people have epilepsy or a seizure disorder.

Check out the documentary called On The Edge: Living With Epilepsy. Directed by Louis Stanislaw, the independent filmmaker. As the title suggests, it is a real-world look at what it is like to live with epilepsy and helps highlight the struggles people living with epilepsy go through. Whether you are living with epilepsy yourself, or know nothing about it, anyone should see it get a better understanding and perspective on what it is truly like to live with epilepsy. Not only are their physical problems with seizures and medications, but there is also a vast array of social and psychological problems that many of us face.

How is epilepsy diagnosed?

First, a detailed history is needed. A physical and neurologic exam is performed by your doctor, a panel of laboratory tests are run, and sometimes x-rays (radiographs) are taken. If a cause of the seizure can not be identified, the condition is diagnosed as idiopathic or primary epilepsy. There is no test to diagnose epilepsy per se, all the tests simply rule out other causes of seizures.

Epileptic seizures – a social factor that interferes with normal life

Not all seizures look alike. A person may appear to be staring into space or daydreaming, or he or she may exhibit unusual body movements.  Although individuals are likely to experience similar symptoms over time, it is possible for one person to experience variation in behavior. Most seizures end without harm, after a few seconds or minutes. When the seizure is over, the brain goes back to working normally.

People with epilepsy are likely to suffer emotional and psychological symptoms. Sometimes it takes years of discouraging trial and error to find an effective medication for controlling seizures. Because seizures may be suffered in public, and epilepsy is still frequently misunderstood, a person with epilepsy may fear social rejection and stigma.  In addition, he or she may face obstacles such as discrimination at school or work.  Frustration over a loss of control and independence, and limits on activity, can result in anger, anxiety, loss of self-esteem and depression.

But the picture is not all bleak. In many cases, seizures can be controlled and eventually eliminated by medication or other treatments. Some problems associated with epilepsy can be avoided by a change in lifestyle habits, or through professional counseling. Fortunately, many people with epilepsy lead normal, active lives.

How is epilepsy treated today?

The goal of epilepsy treatment is to treat and prevent, seizures. In some cases, seizures can occur because of the presence of a substance, infection, or other condition. These can be stopped by treating the fever, the poisoning, low blood sugar or the infection if this is discovered to be the cause of the seizures.

Some medications can be taken daily in order to prevent seizures altogether or reduce the frequency of their occurrence. These are termed “anticonvulsant” or “antiepileptic” drugs (sometimes AEDs). All such drugs have side effects which are idiosyncratic and others that are dose-dependent; it is not possible to predict who will suffer from side effects or at what does the side effects will appear. There are about 20 FDA approved medications currently available for epilepsy treatment. Epilepsy medications are either called first-generation or second-generation, depending on when they were first discovered and made available.

First aid for an epilepsy attack: There are a few important steps for others to follow when you have a seizure. You can share these steps with your family, friends, and adults in your life, like your teachers. Learn more about first aid here or call 911.
  • Stay calm and stay with you until your seizure is over
  • Make sure that you are out of the way of any objects that may hurt you
  • Lay you on your side
  • Record the amount of time the seizure lasts
  • Call 911 if the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes or if you are having trouble breathing
  • Give you your seizure rescue medication (if you have one) if your seizure lasts 3-5 minutes. At this point, they will also call 911
  • Keep you comfortable

While first-generation antiepileptic drugs are effective, some people find there may be a trade-off between safety and effectiveness with long-term use of these older drugs. With the introduction of new second-generation antiepileptic drugs, doctors and people with epilepsy have more choices when it comes to epilepsy treatment.

Neurontin, known generically as gabapentin, is a GABA analog. It is used for quite varied purposes: to treat epilepsy, to relieve pain, and to manage the major depressive disorder and other mental health conditions. It is most effective when used to manage nerve pain and seizures.

The FDA first approved Neurontin in 1994 for use as an adjunct to other anti-seizure medications. In 2002, the drug was also approved for the treatment of neuropathic and nerve-related pain. Gabapentin is also administered to help treat addictions to methamphetamine, cocaine, and alcohol. It reportedly reduces cravings in methamphetamine patients and can also reduce withdrawal symptoms in drug users who are physically addicted to opioids such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone as well as a benzodiazepine.

Neurontin

Neurontin is used off-label to treat a number of conditions. As a pain reliever, it has been helpful to people with migraine headaches, post-operative pain, and other types of nerve pain. As an anti-epilepsy treatment, it’s also been found to treat pathologic nystagmus (involuntary eye movements). Learn more about Neurontin.

Epilepsy is a very critical medical condition and it should not be treated lightly. You should consult the best doctors in this sphere and start therapy sessions. You should do a comprehensive understanding of this disease and find out about the best doctors and make appointments with them so that you can start getting treated.

The field of medical science is overjoyed since the discovery of the wonder drug named Pregabalin. It is proclaimed by doctors that it is a safe and tested drug that helps in curing this hazardous disease. The best part about this drug is that there are minimal side effects. However, now there should be an end to epileptic seizures.

The nervous impulses in the body result in epileptic seizure and this is not good news. The reason why doctors prefer Lyrica is that this wonder drug puts an end to seizures and the situation comes under control.

Lyrica

You need to consult a doctor before you the intake of any drug. The severity of the disease will ensure the drug dosage and when you should imbibe it. Learn more about Lyrica.

We can recommend reputable online pharmacy where you can buy the finest quality Lyrica Generic tablets safely. Neurosurgery is often the last resort for those whose epilepsy cannot be controlled by anti-seizure and epilepsy medications. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurologic disorders today, affecting 4% of the total world population. Treatment for epilepsy usually relies on medications and supportive methods to control the symptoms and prevent injuries as these symptoms occur. Surgeries such as these are only considered when conventional treatment guidelines for the management of epilepsy do not work. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that epilepsy surgery will work in every case, which is the reason why the pros and cons of the procedure must be properly weighed before a decision is made.

Do you believe in myths?

Unfortunately, there are still many myths that exist about epilepsy and many people misunderstand just what epilepsy is and does to a person. In fact, epilepsy is a blanket term for over 20 different seizure disorders and types. For example, seizures may include:

– staring (absence seizure);

– excessive blinking;

– lip-smacking;

– pacing back and forth;

– random, fast mood changes;

– and many more symptoms.

Impact on responsibilities

An epileptic individual shouldn’t’ drive, cook, or do activities which when left in an instant may cause danger and risk. Driving, for instance, if a person with epilepsy experiences seizures while driving, this would really cause an accident for an abrupt inability to control the car.

An epileptic person may behave normally like any other individual, but when its symptoms happen and attacks, the person’s ability to do normal things is next to impossible; with this epilepsy is considered a disability.

Dr. Ali Elahi

This article is written by Dr. Ali Elahi, a specialist in neuromuscular disorders, certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). His expertise includes evaluation and treatment of patients with epilepsy, stroke, headache, neuromuscular disease, and cerebral palsy.He also manages neurological emergencies in the Intensive Care Units.

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