Focal seizure - discharge; Jacksonian seizure - discharge; Seizure - partial (focal) - discharge; TLE - discharge; Seizure - temporal lobe - discharge; Seizure - tonic-clonic - discharge; Seizure - grand mal - discharge; Grand mal seizure - discharge; Seizure - generalized - discharge
You have epilepsy. People with epilepsy have seizures. A seizure is a sudden brief change in the electrical and chemical activity in the brain.
After you go home from the hospital, follow the health care provider's instructions on self-care. Use the information below as a reminder.
In the hospital, the doctor gave you a physical and a nervous system examination and did some tests to find out the cause of your seizures.
Your provider sent you home with medicines to help keep you from having more seizures. This is because the provider concluded you were at risk of having more seizures. After you get home, your provider may still need to change the dosage of your seizure drugs or add new medicines. This may be because your seizures are not controlled, or you are having side effects.
You should get plenty of sleep and try to keep as regular a schedule as possible. Try to avoid too much stress. Avoid alcohol as well as recreational drug use.
Make sure your home is safe to help prevent injuries if a seizure takes place:
Most people with seizures can have a very active lifestyle. You should still plan ahead for the possible dangers of a certain activity. Do not do any activity during which loss of consciousness would be dangerous. Wait until it is clear that seizures are unlikely to occur. Safe activities include:
There should always be a lifeguard or buddy present when you go swimming. Wear a helmet during bike riding, skiing, and similar activities. Ask your provider if it is OK for you to play contact sports. Avoid activities during which having a seizure would put you or someone else in danger.
Also ask if you should avoid places or situations that expose you to flashing lights or contrasting patterns such as checks or stripes. In some people with epilepsy, seizures can be triggered by flashing lights or patterns.
Wear a medical alert bracelet. Tell family, friends, and the people you work with about your seizure disorder.
Driving your own car is generally safe and legal once the seizures are controlled. State laws vary. You can get information about your state law from your provider and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Never stop taking seizure medicines without talking with your provider. Do not stop taking your seizure medicines just because your seizures have stopped.
Tips for taking your seizure medicines:
If you miss a dose:
Drinking alcohol or doing illegal drugs can cause seizures.
Your provider may need to do a blood test to measure the level of your seizure drug. Seizure drugs have side effects. If you started taking a new drug recently, or your provider changed the dosage of your seizure drug, these side effects may go away. Always ask your provider about the side effects you may have and how to manage them.
Many seizure medicines can weaken the strength of your bones (osteoporosis). Ask your provider about how to reduce the risk of osteoporosis through exercise and vitamin and mineral supplements.
For women during childbearing years:
Once a seizure starts, there is no way to stop it. Family members and caregivers can only help make sure you are safe from further injury. They can also call for help, if needed.
Your provider may have prescribed a medicine that can be given during a prolonged seizure to make it stop sooner. Tell your family about this medicine and how to give the medicine to you when needed.
When a seizure starts, family members or caregivers should try to keep you from falling. They should help you to the ground, in a safe area. They should clear the area of furniture or other sharp objects. Caregivers should also:
Things your friends and family members should not do:
Contact your provider if you have:
Call 911 or the local emergency number if:
Abou-Khalil BW, Gallagher MJ, Macdonald RL. Epilepsies. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 100.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Managing epilepsy. www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/managing-epilepsy/index.htm. Updated September 30, 2020. Accessed September 29, 2022.
Pearl PL. Overview of seizures and epilepsy in children. In: Swaiman KF, Ashwal S, Ferriero DM, et al, eds. Swaiman's Pediatric Neurology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 61.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 7/26/2022
Reviewed By: Evelyn O. Berman, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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