About Epilepsy

Epilepsy occurs when a person has continuous seizures. A seizure is abnormal brain activity. A seizure can change how you think or behave, and it can make it hard to be aware of what is happening.

Epilepsy can lead to other problems, like:

  • Falls, accidents, and injury.
  • Depression.
  • Poor memory.
  • Sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP). This is rare. Its cause is not known.

Most people with epilepsy lead normal lives.

Follow these instructions at home:


  • Take only the medications instructed by your doctor.
  • Avoid anything that may keep your medicine from working, such as alcohol.


  • Get enough rest. Seizures will occur more frequently with sleep deprivation.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice about swimming, driving, operating heavy machinery, or doing anything else that would be dangerous if you had a seizure while doing the activity.

Teaching others
Teach friends and family what to do if you have a seizure. They should:

  • Lay you on the ground to prevent a fall.
  • Cushion your head and body.
  • Loosen any tight clothing around your neck.
  • Turn you on your side.
  • Stay with you until you are better.
  • Not hold you down.
  • Not put anything in your mouth.
  • Know whether or not you need emergency care.

General instructions

  •  Avoid anything that causes you to have seizures.
  • Keep a seizure diary. Write down what you remember about each seizure, and especially what might have caused it.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your doctor. This is important.

Contact a doctor if:

  • You have a change in your seizure pattern.
  • You get an infection or start to feel sick. You may have more seizures when you are sick.

Get help right away if:

  • A seizure does not stop after 5 minutes.
  • You have more than one seizure in a row, and you do not have enough time between the seizures to feel better.
  • A seizure makes it harder to breathe.
  • A seizure is different from other seizures you have had.
  • A seizure makes you unable to speak or use a part of your body.
  • You did not wake up right after a seizure.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

Chris Dickinson