How Do You Manage Epilepsy?
Epilepsy surgery is a procedure that removes an area of the brain where seizures occur.
Epilepsy surgery is most effective when seizures always occur in a single location in the brain. Epilepsy surgery is not the first line of treatment but is considered when at least two anti-seizure medications have failed to control seizures.
The most common treatments for epilepsy are:
- Medicine: Anti-seizure medication is the first course of treatment to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures.
- Surgery: Epilepsy surgery is a procedure that removes an area of the brain where seizures occur. This is most effective when the diagnosis is Focal Seizures. Surgery is generally not considered until at least two anti-seizure medications have failed to control seizures.
- VNS: Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) can treat focal or partial seizures by sending regular, mild electrical energy to the brain via the vagus nerve. The device is implanted under the skin in the left chest area and an electrode is attached to the device. The device is programmed to deliver pulses or stimulation at regular intervals. A person with a VNS is generally not aware of the stimulation. If a person is aware when a seizure occurs, they can swipe a magnet over the chest area to send an extra burst of stimulation to the brain.
- RNS: Responsive neurostimulation device (RNS) is a neurostimulation system designed to prevent epileptic seizures. The RNS device is implanted while connected to leads that are placed in up to two areas where seizures begin. The device monitors brain activity in order to detect abnormal patterns, and in response delivers electrical pulses in an attempt to prevent seizures. The RNS treats adults with partial onset seizures that are not controlled by medications.
Self-care managing seizures
Self-care is the best way to help manage seizures and includes the following:
- Take your medicine at the prescribed time daily.
- Recognize seizure triggers such as flashing or bright lights.
- Keep a record or journal of your seizures and share with your physician.
- Get enough sleep and establish a set time for going to bed.
- Lower stress through mindfulness, meditation, and yoga.
- Turn off all electronic devices at night.