Epilepsy is a condition that affects about 60,000 young people under the age of 18. Getting a diagnosis may not be simple though and can take a long time. This is because the doctors want to be sure they have got it right. Seizures can look very different and there are no easy tests that can be used. Other conditions can cause events that look like seizures and the doctors need to rule these out first of all.
A good eye witness account will be needed because the doctors will want to know what type of seizures someone is having. This is important and is helpful in the treatment of epilepsy. They will also want to know if there is anything that might make a seizure more likely to occur (these are called triggers). You can find out more about what tests are used for diagnosing epilepsy »»
Once the doctors are sure it is epilepsy they will discuss treatment options »»
They usually use drugs called antiepileptic drugs which can be taken every day at home. For some people the doctors may talk about surgery or dietary therapies to treat epilepsy but this is not common.
It is important for people to know about epilepsy but telling people can be quite hard. School will also need to know so that they can work out the best way of looking after someone in the classroom and on trips. The important thing to remember is that life should go on as normally as possible. When people have all the information they need they will deal with epilepsy so much better.
Parents will always worry. It’s what they’re programmed to do! The best way to help them is to find out as much as possible about epilepsy »».
Understand how people do about travel, going out, working, relationships, driving and generally life with epilepsy »».
You can also keep a seizure diary which helps to manage and monitor your seizures, but also helps to record your thoughts and feelings. Check out All About Me »»
The best thing is to talk about it if possible. The more people understand the more helpful they are likely to be. A good way to find out how other people cope with their families is by using a forum online.
Forums can also be a good way of getting support from other people around the country who have similar problems. However the best way of avoiding feeling low is to have good friends, go out and keep active.
There are a lot of changes in life, with different schools, teachers, doctors and friends. It is an exciting time but maybe tiring and stressful. Collect as much information as possible so that future challenges like changing doctors will be more straightforward.