Epilepsy does not only affect that person who has been diagnosed with it, it also greatly affects the person’s family and loved ones. Seizures can be mentally and physically draining for everyone involved and even scary for those who have never seen a person have one. When someone in your household has epilepsy it is helpful to understand what this condition is, how it affects the person with it, what can happen during and after a seizure, and what role you should play doing a person’s seizure. There are preventive steps which can make this condition a little less scary for spouses, children, and other family members.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy affects a person’s nervous system. This neurological condition is also referred to as a seizure disorder. In most cases the cause of epilepsy are unknown. Epilepsy can develop in people of all ages although some people may be at a greater risk of having seizures.
What is a Seizure?
A seizure is a surge of electrical activity which suddenly affects a person. When a person has a seizure many things can happen such as shaking, making sounds, stiffening, sweating, drooling, arm’s waving, falling down, tongue biting, and eyes rolling. Seizure’s can affect each person differently and symptoms can vary.
Although a person can have a seizure at any time without a known cause some things can trigger or increase the chance of a seizure. Stress, anxiety, and fatigue can increase a person’s chance of having a seizure. Those diagnosed with epilepsy may find that flashing lights cause them to have seizures. Taking prescribed medicines to treat epilepsy on schedule is extremely important to controlling seizures and avoiding them.
After a Seizure
The after affects of a seizure vary in each person. Some of the things you may see are fatigue, unable to walk, trouble talking, memory loss, nausea, and a sore body. Seizures are physically and mentally exhausting for a person. One of the best suggestions I can give is to encourage the person to lie down and rest after a seizure. It is not a good idea for them to be up moving around since their balance will be off and they will most likely be in a “fuzzy” state. Your loved one may be able to give you an idea of their after effects of a seizure to help you anticipate what to expect.
The overview of epilepsy that is above is brief. There is much more to be learned about this disorder, if you have a loved one with epilepsy I strongly encourage you to become educated and informed to help both your family and loved one deal with situations that arise due to epilepsy. As a wife of someone who has epilepsy I wanted to share a few tips from my personal experience that could help you and your family.
1. Talk – If you have children it is very important to talk to them about what a seizure is and what can happen during them. The more they know the less panic will happen if they see a seizure.
Tip: We have young children so we talked to them and gave instructions on what to do it a seizure happens when they are home. Example: Our younger children know that if a seizure occurs to go to one of three neighbors’ houses (neighbors have been talked to) and get an adult.
The older children were given instructions on how to handle a seizure, what should and should not be done. We also explained to them what will happen after the seizure is over.
2. If you have a spouse of loved on with epilepsy it is very important that you know what you should and should not do during a seizure. The person with epilepsy may be able to give you information on what happens to them during and after a seizure but this is not always the case.
Tip: During a seizure you should never try and restrain the person. Make sure their heads is out of danger of hitting something, move everything possible out of the person’s area. If possible, it is helpful to get the person on their side to help avoid biting their tongue. Talk the person through the seizure. Talking in a calm and reassuring voice can help the person through a seizure. Let your loved one know you are there and they are ok; tell them it is almost over. In my experience talking to my husband during a seizure has reduced the time of a seizure. You may not think the person can hear you during a seizure but they can, they most likely will not remember but talking to them is a big help during their seizure.
3. It is important to understand what happens after a person has a seizure, which can vary in people. For many people they will not remember the seizure. A seizure is mentally and physically exhausting for a person so they may sleep for awhile afterwards. After a seizure it is likely that balance and motor skills will not be normal. Encourage the person to stay sitting or laying for awhile. Do not be worried if they do not talk immediately after, they are regaining themselves. It is important to understand it may take a few days for a person to feel normal after a seizure.
My best advance to families dealing with epilepsy is to get educated. Knowing what to expect and how to handle it is important. I encourage you to learn how long seizures should last and when medical attention should be called. Knowing important information ahead of time can reduce a lot of stress during a situation. I can tell you this; even though seizures can be scary it does get easier to deal with. The more I know about seizures and the particulars of my how my husband reacts enables me to handle them calmly and without anxiety. Talking with your loved one is a great way to gain knowledge.