LIVING WITH EPILEPSY
If you have epilepsy, you may have questions regarding the condition and how it may effect your life. Will having epilepsy affect the option of driving a car or continuing in a job? Will having epilepsy affect your relationships? What are some of the attitudes of society encountered by those with epilepsy.
For some individuals, having epilepsy will require few changes in lifestyle. For others with uncontrolled seizures, their lives change significantly.
Local epilepsy associations can provide you with information regarding your concerns. Most associations have helpful resource materials as well as a staff committed to answering questions and providing information. Associations often offer in-services to worksites and schools in order to educate others about he condition. Associations may also be able to link you with self-help and support groups, and with trained professionals.
Living with epilepsy can result in personal challenges, but it does not have to result in an inability to have a full and rewarding life. Educating yourself and others about your condition, finding the appropriate treatment, developing a support network, and continuing to pursue what brings joy into your life are all important in achieving a fulfilling quality of life.
A range of emotions may accompany a diagnosis of epilepsy. You may feel depressed, angry or frustrated. You may be concerned about your plans for the future. You may find that family or friends respond negatively to your condition out of fear or a lack of knowledge. Depression is more common in individuals with epilepsy than it is in the general population. This could be due to psychosocial factors, the seizures themselves and/or anticonvulsant therapy. If you are struggling with or think you may have depression, contact your physician to obtain support.
For some individuals with epilepsy, little change in lifestyle is necessary. For others, there may be significant change. Local epilepsy associations have valuable resources on many aspects of epilepsy and they may be able to link you with self-help and support groups, and with trained professionals. Both of these services are provided by the Edmonton Epilepsy Association, contact us for more information.
There are many devices and items available to help manage day-to-day concerns. Wearing an identification bracelet or necklace can aid in assistance should a seizure happen. Carry a pre-programmed cell phone or beeper in case you need help. If seizure medication or seizures affect memory, using a watch with an alarm, a day-timer and a medication dispenser may be helpful.
SHARING WITH OTHERS
Consider carefully with whom your will discuss your epilepsy. The decision involving who should be told may depend partially on the type and frequency of your seizures. Sometimes the decision may be based on how close you feel to the person. Do you spend a lot of time with this person? Are you likely to have seizures with the person? Whether or not people would know how to help if you have a seizure with them may be a deciding factor. While it may not be necessary to discuss your condition with everyone, it is important that those you are with frequently know what to do if you have a seizure.
Living with epilepsy can result in personal challenges but it does not have to result in an inability to have a rewarding and full life. Learning about epilepsy and sharing that information with others, finding the medical treatment that is best for you, developing a network of family and friends who support and care about you, and pursuing what matters in your life, are all important.
Looking for more information?
For a comprehensive booklet dealing specifically with living with epilepsy please see our information booklet titled “Living With Epilepsy” also available en francais “Vivre avec l’épilepsie” from our Information Bookets: