The Epilepsy Society reminds us that 1 in 20 people will experience a one-time epileptic seizure during their lifetime. Even though this doesn’t mean that they have epilepsy, it does highlight how common seizures really are.
What Treats Seizures?
Treating seizures is a mix of getting medical help to work through your specific condition while staying informed about how seizures can be different for each individual. When you start learning more about your condition, you can start discovering management strategies that work for you. No two people with epilepsy or other seizure-causing conditions go through the same experience. Here are a few of the treatment and management strategies that other people have found helpful…
10. Getting Informed
Treating and managing seizures starts with learning more about your specific condition. No two seizures are alike, after all, and each person who manages this condition faces a unique challenge. Learning more about what is causing your seizures can therefore help you make better decisions about your treatment.
Why Getting Informed Helps
Working with your medical care professionals and learning about your own condition gives you the information you need to make informed health decisions. You can even try things like journaling to track your seizures and build a body of knowledge about their causes and which treatment methods have been working for you.
This education also helps you communicate with friends and family about this condition…
9. Talking With Family and Friends
Your friends and family are a key part of your health. They can be there for you when you experience a seizure and are often part of your overall treatment plan. Making sure they are well-informed about seizures can thereby help you make the most out of your treatment.
Why Talking With Family and Friends Helps
Unfortunately, many people have misconceptions about seizures. Disproven popular information, such as holding down a person experiencing convulsions or putting a wallet in their mouth, actually causes more harm. Helping the people close to you understand what helps and what doesn’t can give you even more support for your treatment, as can the following…
8. Dietary Therapy
Our diets are one of the cornerstones of our overall health. What we take into our bodies directly shapes our physical condition. This is true for people managing their seizures just as it is true for the rest of us.
Why Dietary Therapy Helps
Individuals working on managing their seizures can benefit from diets that are low in carbohydrates and high in fat. There are a variety of diets that match these criteria, including ketogenic diets. This helps the body stay regulated and minimizes the risk of experiencing a seizure.
These therapies work to help reduce the risk and minimize the harm, but many of the standard treatments are medicinal…
7. Anticonvulsant Medicine
There are many different types of medication for treating seizures. When it comes to treating the ones you experience, you need to find the right medication for your specific condition. Each of these medications works to relieve a specific aspect of seizures.
Why Anticonvulsant Medicine Helps
Anticonvulsant medication works to reduce or eliminate convulsions from seizures. This medication lowers the severity of muscle convulsions. This can be one of the most dramatic and dangerous symptoms of seizures. This medication not only helps your physical health, but can improve your comfort in social settings by reducing the risk of physical convulsions.
Another common medicinal treatment is the use of sedatives…
Sedatives are another common treatment for seizures. This medication works in a manner similar to anticonvulsant medication, but it has a different effect on the body.
Why Sedatives Help
Sedatives reduce the overall activity of the neurons in the brain. As seizures are caused by an overload of neural activity, sedatives can help reduce the frequency of this condition. Now, sedatives might not be the right solutions for everyone who experiences seizures, but they can go a long way in helping people manage their condition.
Another medication that helps to manage the symptoms of seizures is nerve pain medication…
5. Nerve Pain Medicine
Seizures can cause some fairly intense pain throughout the body. This pain typically manifests as either the result of a secondary injury from a convulsion, or as nerve pain caused by the chronic and related damage to the nerves.
Why Nerve Pain Medicine Helps
Nerve pain medicine helps reduce the pain experienced from nerve damage. This pain can be intense and is often a difficult part of experiencing seizures to manage. This medication can therefore help relieve some of the worst aspects of the pain, even though it doesn’t reduce the frequency of seizures.
Since seizures are a disorder caused by an overactive nervous system, there are treatments that tackle the problem directly…
4. Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation might sound a little sci-fi and that’s because it is. This treatment uses the latest in medical science to place electrodes directly into the brain and attach that system to a generator-like device attached somewhere around the chest.
Why Deep Brain Stimulation Helps
This device sends electrical signals to the brain and helps to control the overactive neurons responsible for seizures. The generator-like device functions similarly to a pacemaker in that it sends electric stimulation to the brain to regular nerve activity.
There is another device that can also help by being implanted into the brain…
3. Responsive Neurostimulation
Responsive neurostimulation works similarly to deep brain stimulation. In this instance, a device is also implanted on the surface of the brain or within the brain’s tissue. However, how this device works is notably different.
Why Responsive Neurostimulation Helps
Responsive neurostimulation devices work by detecting seizures and then sending electronic impulses that work to stop or lessen the seizure as it is happening. Unlike deep brain stimulation, this is a responsive device that only turns on when it detects a seizure.
There are other nerve stimulation techniques that are a little less invasive…
2. Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Vagus nerve stimulation is another implanted device, but this one doesn’t connect to your brain. This device is instead implanted into the chest and connects to the vagus nerve in the neck. Why this nerve? Because the vagus nerve is one of the strongest neural pathways to the brain.
Why Vagus Nerve Stimulation Helps
Vagus nerve stimulation sends signals through the vagus nerve and into the brain; these signals reduce the frequency of seizures. Since this method doesn’t go directly to the brain, many people find that they still have to take their medications to fully manage their conditions. However, people are able to lower their doses when using vagus nerve stimulation.
There is one treatment that goes directly to the source for people with a specific type of seizure…
Surgical options are often the most sweeping choice for people with a certain type of seizure. Seizures are categorized by which parts of the brain experience the disruption. If a person’s seizures all occur in the same area of the brain, surgery might be an option.
Why Surgery Helps
Surgery works on the problem directly by removing the affected area of the brain. This takes out the problem neurons and eliminates the source of the seizures. However, this technique doesn’t work on people who experience seizures originating in different parts of their brain. This technique might not be available depending on the location and severity of a person’s seizures, however.
Treating and managing your seizures is all about understanding your unique condition and exploring your treatment options.
When you start out treating and managing your seizures, there are plenty of things you can try to lessen the severity of your experiences. There are options ranging from dietary changes all the way up to brain surgery. You can work with your medical team to come up with the treatment plan that is best for you.