Do you know someone with epilepsy and want to help him/her but don’t know how? The types of things that people with epilepsy find helpful can be as varied as the people themselves, but these are a few tips on how you can reach out and support your loved one:

  • Ask questions. The more you understand from your loved one what he/she is going through, the more comfortable you will all be about the whole situation.
  • Be supportive of your loved one and help them feel comfortable talking about their emotions.
  • Stay in touch with the neurologist (or personal doctor) so that you are up to date about the specifics of the medical situation.
  • Ensure that your loved one takes the right amount of prescribed medication at the right times.
  • Keep an eye out for the conditions/situations that trigger seizures.
  • Know what is on your loved one’s medical ID bracelet. It has instructions of what to do in case of a seizure.
  • Know how to help your loved one when he/she is experiencing a seizure. You can educate yourself more here.
  • Help build and maintain a positive attitude. What makes your loved one laugh? Help your loved one focus on his/her strengths.
  • Be mindful that there are things outside your loved one’s control that could affect his/her behavior.
  • Reassure your loved one he or she is not alone! Anyone can face epilepsy and millions of people are affected by it around the globe.
  • Help reach out to a community of people with epilepsy.

When to Seek Professional Help

Sometimes seizures may get out of hand and your loved one may be in need of immediate professional help. While medical help is almost always preferred, here are some specific situations where you MUST call for professional help:

  • You know that this is the first seizure.
  • You see someone without a medical ID bracelet having a seizure.
  • The seizure is longer than 5 minutes.
  • Your loved one is experiencing many seizures in a very short period of time.
  • Your loved one experiences multiple seizures without regaining normal behavior between them.

Also, talk to the neurologist if your loved one is experiencing any new symptoms or side effects of medication. Side effects could include restlessness, confusion, shivers, lack of coordination, drowsiness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, rash or loss of hair.

NEXT: How can you help a loved one deal with the stigma associated with epilepsy? Learn more on our page dedicated to Dealing with the Stigma.