By: Mpho Shelile

 Epilepsy is often a frightening condition, however there are ways to treat it. With treatment, many people with epilepsy can live happy and fulfilling lives.

It is crucial for individuals with epilepsy to work closely with their healthcare team to find the most effective treatment plan for their specific conditions. Regular follow-ups, open communication with healthcare providers, and adherence to prescribed treatments are essential for successful management of epilepsy.

 Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. The primary goal of epilepsy treatment is to control or reduce the frequency of the seizures while minimizing side effects and improving the individual’s quality of life.

Treatment options may include the following:

Medications can help prevent seizures or reduce how often they occur. However, it sometimes takes trying multiple medications (or combinations of them) to find one that works best. In some cases, people have “refractory epilepsy,” which resists medications. For people with refractory epilepsy, surgery, ketogenic diet which is said to only be helpful to children or an implantable device are the best options to consider.

For provoked seizures, the risk of having another depends on what caused the first seizure and if that cause was treatable or curable the risk of having another seizure is low (unless you have a repeat of the same circumstances that caused the first seizure).

Many people who had an unprovoked seizure will never have another for the rest of their lives. For those who do have a second seizure, epilepsy is a life-long condition because it’s not curable. However, it’s possible for this condition to go into remission and for seizures to stop happening with the help of treament.

The treatments for seizures vary widely because the treatment for a provoked seizures depend almost entirely on the cause. The treatment for epilepsy-related seizures also depends on the type(s) of seizures one has, why they’re happening and which treatments works best.

Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are the most common and effective way to manage epilepsy. The choice of medication depends on the type of seizures, the patient’s age, overall health, and potential side effects. It is essential for individuals to take their prescribed medication regularly and as directed by their healthcare provider.

Managing stress, getting enough sleep, and avoiding triggers can also play a role in epilepsy treatment. For some individuals, certain lifestyle changes may help reduce the frequency of seizures.

In cases where seizures are not controlled with medication, surgery may be considered. This could involve removing the part of the brain responsible for triggering seizures, a procedure known as lobectomy.  Another one being Responsive Neuro-stimulation (RNS) which is a newer treatment option that involves the implantation of a device that monitors brain activity and delivers electrical stimulation to prevent seizures.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS): VNS involves the implantation of a device that stimulates the vagus nerve, which may help reduce seizure frequency and severity. It is often considered for individuals who do not respond well to medication.  

These complications from seizure treatments vary widely, depending on the cause, type of seizure, type of treatment and more. One’s healthcare provider is the best person to tell them what side effects or complications are most likely in their case. That’s because they can give specific information about one’s specific case.

One should not try to self-diagnose or treat a seizure, everyone is at risk of seizures, and they also happen unpredictably, so it’s not possible to completely prevent them. The best thing one can do is avoid possible causes to reduce the chances of having a seizure.

The best things one can do is to reduce the risk of having a seizure by eating a balanced diet and maintaining a weight that’s healthy for them. They should avoid infections at all cost, it is also advised that patient wear safety equipment. Don’t misuse alcohol, prescription or recreational drugs, manage health conditions, and the most importantly avoid possible seizure triggers.

If a patient has had one seizure in the past, it’s important to watch out for signs of another. If they have a second seizure, seeing a healthcare provider as soon as possible is very important. Seizures cause changes in the brain that make it easier to have more seizures, so early diagnosis and treatment is key.

Seizures and epilepsy are more likely to respond and have a good outcome with early diagnosis and treatment. Some situations may be triggers on their own like; flickering lights or sleep deprivation, it’s important to avoid those triggers.

Having epilepsy and consequent seizures may make an individual stressed about the implications it will have on their quality of life. However, in this day and age, there are multiple treatment options focused on bettering the lives of people who suffer from this condition. Although the first or second treatment may not work, it’s important to keep hope alive and explore other options.