Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterised by abnormal activity in the brain, triggering seizures. But, what happens in the human body when a seizure occurs?
“Our whole body is an electrical system. We are communicating through the nerves, and they are electrical, and your brain is the main generator,” Glenna Tolbert, assistant clinical professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, told SELF.
“A seizure happens when there’s a misfiring of your nerve cells and the electric activity in the brain is disrupted. It could be temporary, or it could be a chronic problem,” she explained. So when a person experiences multiple seizures that are not tied to a specific cause, they may be diagnosed with epilepsy.
To help manage the condition, you may be prescribed medications such as Tegretol, Carbatrol, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin. Make sure you take them as prescribed, which means you should avoid changing the dosage yourself. If you have any concerns about your medication, speak to your doctor first.
It is a good idea for epilepsy patients to limit alcohol intake to just a drink or two. When you consume too much alcohol, the inevitable withdrawal may lead to a seizure. And another reason for moderation?
High alcohol intake and seizure medication is a risky combination – this may cause dangerous side effects such as rapid intoxication.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that brain injuries are a common cause of epilepsy. Take steps to protect yourself by wearing seatbelts and helmets to reduce the chance of severe injury.
Most of us know that bright, flashing lights can be a trigger, which backs up the recommendation to avoid any such visual stimuli and even reduce screen time as much as possible. But what are some other potential triggers to be aware of?
Seizures are also very sensitive to sleep patterns, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. In some cases, a long period of poor sleep or staying up all night just once may trigger the first and only seizure a person experiences.
But when you are diagnosed with epilepsy, it becomes all the more important to follow a regular sleep schedule. As the guidelines say, make sure you are getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
Last but not least, try your best to avoid too much mental or emotional strain. Stress reduction methods ‘could improve overall quality of life and reduce seizure frequency at little to no risk’ in patients with epilepsy, according to Heather McKee, of the University of Cincinnati.
You may consider joining a support group to meet other people diagnosed with the condition. While mindfulness therapy is another option, you can also start with simpler techniques like deep breathing, outdoor walks, or personalized self-care activities.
“Any patient reporting stress as a seizure trigger should be screened for a treatable mood disorder, especially considering that mood disorders are so common within this population,” McKee added.
Source: Medical Daily