How Can You Support a Loved One Living with Epilepsy?


“Epilepsy may cast a shadow, but love and understanding can be the brightest light.”

God forbid it may not happen to anyone or their loved ones. But just once, imagine you are sleeping in the middle of the night and suddenly see your loved one experiencing a sudden change. 

They might go through a scary moment where their body becomes stiff and their eyes move strangely. It can be terrifying for even those watching those experiencing this strange situation. 

For once, you may get frightened and lose ground under your foot, feeling helpless and shocked to see that person you cherish deeply undergo such a strange experience.

If you have gone through this situation, we are here to support you by giving you the proper knowledge to help you be a beacon of light and love for your loved ones. 

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain and can make people feel alone, confused, or underconfident. 

Chronic epilepsy is a long-term condition that involves recurrent seizures due to abnormal electrical signals generated by damaged brain cells. Seizures are brought on by an uncontrollable spike in electrical activity within brain cells. A seizure may cause changes to your consciousness, sensations, emotions, behavior, and motor control (your muscles may twitch or jerk).

It is also called a seizure disorder.

While some seizures can be easy to see because they involve sudden movements or someone passing out other times, they may not last for more than a few seconds. Sometimes, when someone has a seizure, it doesn’t mean they have epilepsy. So, until the doctors figure out what kind of seizure it is, they might call it something else, like an “event.”

Symptoms of epilepsy

When someone has a seizure, their body may start shaking or jerking, they may have trouble speaking or understanding things, and they may feel very confused or scared.

Here is the list of signs and symptoms a person may have when they have epilepsy:

  • Uncontrolled jerking movement of hands and legs
  • Temporary loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Staring
  • Confusion
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Deja vu movements
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle stiffness

It is important to note that if you are experiencing these symptoms or seeing someone with them, you must immediately talk to the doctor. 

What are the causes of epilepsy?

While the exact cause of a seizure is unknown, here is a list of the causes of the most common types of seizures:

In infants and newborns:

  1. Congenital (existing from birth) issues
  2. Fever or illness
  3. Metabolic or chemical imbalances in the body

In children/teenagers/young adults:

  1. Drugs or alcohol
  2. Birth defects
  3. Infection
  4. Trauma to head 
  5. Genetic factors

Other possible causes:

  1. Brain tumor
  2. Neurological conditions
  3. Drug withdrawal
  4. Stopped medications
  5. Other unknown reasons

The reasons why people develop epilepsy can be different for each person. Sometimes, there can be more than one thing that causes it. If you are worried about why you have epilepsy or if you might be at risk for it, talk to a medical professional who can help you understand.

Can a person ever recover from epilepsy?

Even though there isn’t any cure for seizures, many people have the same question in mind: can they ever recover from epilepsy?

Here’s what we know:

  • Freedom from seizures is possible:

With the proper care, up to 70% of people with epilepsy become seizure-free. This may entail prescription drugs, dietary modifications, or, in certain situations, neurosurgery. While there is no “cure,” achieving seizure freedom dramatically enhances the quality of life and gives one a sense of control.

  • Remission holds promise:

Some fortunate people, particularly children, can go into remission from epilepsy, which allows them to go more extended periods without taking medicine without experiencing seizures. Depending on the type of epilepsy, this remission rate varies, but it provides long-term hope and a return to normality.

  • Effective management is must:

You can manage epilepsy with medication and lifestyle modifications even if you do not get complete control over its freedom. This enables people to achieve their goals, engage in life fully, and have as few restrictions as possible.

  • Multifaceted recovery process:

Beyond epilepsy, healing includes mental, social, and emotional health. Holistic rehabilitation requires addressing the stigma, discrimination, and anxiety that epileptics experience.

  • Have hope:

Living with epilepsy may indeed bring many challenges. However, you cannot lose hope; focus on the progress you have been making and how you are handling this situation with great courage and determination.

Triggers you need to be aware of

Most people with epilepsy do not always have a reliable trigger that causes seizures. However, it is often possible to identify factors that make you more likely to have a seizure. Possible seizure triggers include:

  • Alcohol
  • Flashing lights
  • Extreme drug use
  • Lack of sleep
  • Skipping doses of medicine
  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Skipped meals
  • Illness

Now, before we move on to the essential tips you can take to support your loved one experiencing episodes of seizures, here is what you must know about its diagnosis and possible treatment.

Diagnosis and treatment

Your loved ones’ epilepsy journey can feel like a mystery at first when you are searching for possible solutions to treat them permanently.

Diagnosing epilepsy involves:

  • Learning about the medical history of the history
  • Neurological exams assess reflexes, coordination, and cognitive function.
  • An EEG records brain activity to detect seizure-related abnormalities. 
  • Imaging tests like CT scans or MRIs detect structural issues in the brain.

After diagnosing, the doctor then starts the possible treatment:

  • The doctor begins the treatment by providing you with anti-seizure medications.
  • In certain cases, a carefully supervised ketogenic diet can be beneficial.
  • If both medications and diet do not work, then surgery may be considered to remove the part of the brain causing the seizures.

Remember that every individual is different. You should clearly explain your problem to the healthcare professional to receive the best treatment. 

How do you handle those experiencing epilepsy?

Witnessing someone have a seizure can be shocking, frightening, and even hurtful. Although you are not a medical expert, there are some things that you can do to help support your loved one:

  • Stay calm: No matter how frightening it may be for you to witness your loved one going through such episodes you have to remember that keeping calm will comfort the individual having the seizure and help you to think properly.

  • Do not interfere: You must refrain from putting anything in their mouth or stop their hands and legs. Let their body have the movement it wants to do.

  • Protect from harm: Keep them safe by gently guiding them away from sharp edges or harmful things to avoid hurting them. If they stumble, support their head with a supple object.

  • Note the timing: Keep track of the beginning and end of the seizure to provide reliable information to the doctor.
  • Educate yourself: You must not feel scared and instead learn about the types, treatments, and triggers of epilepsy.

  • Stay with them: Let your loved one regain consciousness and stability, and then calmly tell them what you saw.

  • Dont offer food or any drink: To prevent choking dangers, wait until they are entirely conscious and awake before offering any food or drink.

Epilepsy can be frightening for everyone affected, but if you know what happens, you can provide reliable support to them. You must take care of yourselves, too, to provide support to your loved ones. 

The bottom line

Yes, living with or providing support to someone with epilepsy can be difficult, but knowing about it can make it somewhat easy for you to provide them with support and love. We tried our best to provide you with complete information from symptoms to diagnosis to triggers and ways to support your loved ones. It is important to remember that although a cure may not be available, there is hope for seizure freedom, remission, and effective management, which can lead to a fulfilling life. 

Read More…