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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.