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Living With Epilepsy: Embracing and Overcoming its Challenges
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects 633,000 people in the UK and tens of millions of people worldwide. It is characterised by recurrent seizures which are sudden disruptions in the brains electrical activity. Living with epilepsy can present unique challenges, but it is important to understand that with proper support, people with epilepsy can lead fulfilling, healthy lives. As part of National Epilepsy Day, today we’re going to explore more about the condition, and ways to live and overcome its affects.
Epilepsy can affect people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. It arises from various causes, such as genetic factors, brain injuries, infections or structural abnormalities in the brain. Epilepsy manifests in different ways, with seizures varying in intensity and frequency. It is crucial to note that epilepsy is not a mental illness, instead, it is a medical condition that requires medical attention.
Living with epilepsy can significantly impact on an individual’s daily life. Seizures can be unpredictable and may lead to challenges in driving, operating machinery or participating in events. Additionally, those with epilepsy may be more prone to anxiety or depression due to social stigmas around misconceptions surrounding the condition.
Medication - Although epilepsy cannot be cured, it can be managed. The primary treatment involves antiepileptic medications. These aim to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. Neurologists will work closely with an individual affected by epilepsy to determine the most suitable medication and review this regularly.
Lifestyle - Adhering to medication schedules is paramount, this is because irregular medication intake may in fact lead to an increase in seizure activity. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as through regular exercise, sufficient sleep and stress reduction techniques, could also contribute to the management of epilepsy.
Support Network -
Similarly, building a strong support network is crucial for those affected by epilepsy. Having family, friends and even colleagues understand epilepsy can help. There are many support groups and online communities which provide opportunities to connect with others facing similar challenges too. By promoting awareness and sharing similar feelings with others, individuals can gain emotional support, while feeling empowered at the same time.
Safety – Creating a safe environment is essential for those who have seizures. Simple measures can have a meaningful impact, with examples including; placing non-slip mats on hard surfaces and installing ‘panic’ style-alarms to alert family and friends of an incident. Those who suffer with seizures on a regular occasion can also keep safe by wearing medical alert bracelets or necklaces, allowing others to be informed about their condition if emergency procedures or medical attention is required.
Living with epilepsy can present unique challenges, but it does not mean one cannot lead a full life. Many people with epilepsy can continue to pursue successful careers, engage in exciting hobbies, and maintain fulfilling relationships with others. Open communication about the condition, maintaining structure that reduces its effects, and creating and implementing lifestyle modifications allows individuals to overcome obstacles and embrace life’s opportunities.
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