This month I am going to be focusing on home treatment for Epilepsy. Whether it is for yourself, a friend, or a loved one, there are a few things you can add to your life that may make things a little less stressful or tiring. I am not a Doctor, so I won’t give advice on medication; if you have any questions regarding medical treatment please consult your Neurologist or family GP.
Taking your medications correctly
Before my final diagnosis, my family and I had no idea of how much work would need to go into my treatment plan. The plan of: when the best time is to take my medications, what other medicines I could no longer take, how we had to make adjustments to our lives and how it would affect my social life. If you are using antiepileptic medicine (AED’s), you must remember to take your medicine/help your child take their medicine exactly as prescribed. Did you know that not following the medication plan could contribute to the failure to control your seizures?
When you or your child is diagnosed, your GP will set up a schedule of medicine dosages, so it is really important that you stick to this. For a year or so after my diagnosis, I kept a chart up on my notice board in my bedroom and on a magnetic board on the fridge to remind me of my dosages and when to take them. I also kept a pillbox so I knew if I’d missed a dosage or not. You can get pill boxes from most pharmacies or local shops–take a look around!
Avoiding the triggers
During your seizure treatment plan, if it is possible, try to identify and avoid things that may make you more likely to have a seizure. I have mentioned in previous columns about keeping a diary; this is a really good idea and will certainly help document your daily activities and when seizures occur most. Some of my main triggers are: not getting enough sleep, being emotionally stressed and not eating enough. To avoid my seizures happening, I ensure that I don’t let myself become overtired or drained. I don’t have any caffeine drinks after a certain time, I do not eat anything sugary that may keep me awake, and I avoid using the computer right before bed.
It’s a good idea to use your diary to keep a note of any seizures you have, because sometimes the trigger is there but it’s hard to see, so having it written down will help. Use little columns to include the date, time of day, and any details about the seizure that you can remember.
If you prefer to keep notes electronically you can always try the Epilepsy Health Storylines app.
First aid is a crucial part of home treatment. If your child or someone else in your family has epilepsy, knowing first aid is key. Make sure everyone in the house knows what to do if a seizure occurs, and if you’re out in public, try and wear a Medical ID bracelet, badge or necklace. I recently wrote a review on a Medical squid, which is a fantastic bracelet. It is made especially for you, so it is unique to everyone. In the event of a seizure or accident that leaves you unconscious or unable to speak for yourself, a medical ID bracelet will let those who are treating you know that you have epilepsy.
Things to avoid
Alcohol can reduce your medication’s effectiveness.
A lot of people like to enjoy a nice drink after a long week at work, a drink over dinner or a night out for somebody’s birthday, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can affect your liver’s metabolism, and this can alter how your body processes anti-epileptic medications.
Alongside this, drinking a lot of alcohol can make you drowsy, and drowsiness can be a potential seizure trigger. It’s nice to have a drink (So I’ve heard, I cannot drink due to my seizures but it looks like fun), but it’s a good idea to be careful.
Home treatment gets easier
Although it’s hard work following a home treatment plan at first, it does get easier over time. Try not to let epilepsy take control of your life.
25 yr old monthly columnist on Living Well with Epilepsy. Full time worker of NHS England.
Emily’s Perspective is a snapshot of what life is like living with Epilepsy. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy at the age of 10.
Based in UK.