Coping With Your Epilepsy in Your Daily Life

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Getty Images/Tom Merton

Learning how to cope with your epilepsy is just as important — and potentially harder for you to confront — than its treatment. Epilepsy obviously will have an effect on your daily life, and it's important for you to face that head-on so that you can better manage your condition.

While everyone copes with their epilepsy differently, here are some helpful tips that can help you on the road to understanding and managing your epilepsy:

Learn Everything You Can About Your Condition

Being diagnosed with epilepsy can be devastating because it alters every aspect in your life. Not only does this condition affect you physically through seizures, it can also affect you emotionally.

While it might be tempting to avoid learning about your epilepsy, it can actually be good therapy to study your condition. Learning about the causes of your condition, as well as the treatments your healthcare provider prescribes for you, actually can be empowering, not disheartening.

This is a first, but important, step that you can take in controlling your seizures.

Be Open With Your Healthcare Provider

Whether a neurologist or a primary care physician is treating your epilepsy, it is important to realize that communication with him or her is essential to your treatment.

The first medication your health care provider gives you may not fully control your seizures.

Additionally, the side effects from some of the medications may not be very tolerable. Discussing your concerns and progress with your healthcare provider will help give you the best treatment for your epilepsy.

Find an Epilepsy Support Group

Interacting with others who also have epilepsy can help you not only to cope with your epilepsy, but also may help you to live and manage it, too.

There are support groups that can meet face to face, but many online forums are specifically dedicated to individuals suffering from epilepsy.

Your loved ones are also important allies in your life and are also concerned about your health and your condition. Let them know what they can do to help you just in case you have a seizure. If you have a seizure and can’t talk, wearing a medical identification bracelet stating that you have epilepsy can let others know that you are epileptic so that they can call medical personnel.

Write It Down (for Several Reasons)

Having epilepsy not only affects you physically -– it can affect you mentally, too. In fact, depression and memory problems are very common in individuals with epilepsy. The good news is that these can be addressed by writing:

If you are experiencing memory problems:

  • Make a “to-do” list that contains reminders such as deadlines, important tasks for that day, as well as other items.
  • Use a calendar to help remind you of important dates.
  • It might be helpful to keep a pen and a piece of paper nearby to remind you of important conversations you might have had that day, a new task you may have learned at work, or an important phone number.

    There's another reason to write. If you are experiencing depression, it may be helpful to keep a journal, in addition to discussing this with your healthcare provider. Depression is very common among individuals who suffer from epilepsy, so it isn’t something you should be ashamed of.

    Writing down your thoughts in a journal can help you sort out your feelings. Additionally, it can be an important tool in treating your epilepsy. A journal can also help you and your healthcare provider to identify seizure triggers and track your progress.

    Take Your Medications – Religiously

    The medications that you take to control your seizures are vital to your treatment. Therefore it is important that you don’t skip a dose, because this could mean a loss of control over your seizures.

    If you are having trouble remembering to take your medication, you can use pill organizers that are relatively cheap.

    Additionally, if the side effects from your medication become very bothersome, or the drug is not controlling your seizures completely, discuss this with your healthcare provider rather than stopping your medication. Your healthcare provider may decide to change the dose of the drug, or change the medication you are taking completely.

    Source:

    Epilepsy Foundation fact sheet. Accessed 11 March 2008.

    Epilepsy Society UK. Just Diagnosed with Epilepsy fact sheet. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.

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