How Do I Support Someone Living With Epilepsy?

Author: Ms.R.Tejashree – Tutor in the Department of Neuro Electro Physiology
SIMATS- Saveetha College of Allied Health Sciences
Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Chennai.

In this write up we will explore seizure disorder and its causes, symptoms, and how to provide first-aid treatment for seizure. A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled burst of electrical activity in the brain that can cause changes in behavior, movements, feelings, and levels of consciousness. Having two or more seizures at least 24 hours apart that do not have a known cause is considered to be epilepsy. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders of childhood. Epilepsy affects both sexes and all ages with worldwide distribution. The prevalence and the incidence of epilepsy are slightly higher in men compared to women and tend to peak in the elderly, reflecting the higher frequency of stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and tumors in this age-group. Focal seizures are more common than generalized seizures both in children and in adults. Epilepsy is a treatable condition, with up to 80% entering prolonged periods of seizure remission and up to 50% continuing to be seizure-free after treatment discontinuation.

 Epilepsy has often been considered a disorder surrounded by myths and misconception. The seizures are short – lived, lasting only for a few seconds to minutes, and recovery is immediate. The person may experience sudden loss of consciousness, jerking movements of arms and legs, staring, stiffening of the body, breathing problems, and loss of bowel control. They may also ave hallucinations of sight, smell, sound, taste, touch and memory. Genetic factors, brain tumors, stroke, degenerative diseases, trauma, chronic alcohol, stress, high illness may cause epilepsy. It is not always possible to identify a cause for epilepsy with any confidence. The main form of treatment for epilepsy is drugs. Sometimes people can learn to control their seizures by avoiding clear precipitants, for example alcohol or lack of sleep. But the large majority require anti – convulsant medication, often over a period of many years. Seizures impact their lives in many ways including creating barriers to employment and education and facing a sense of discrimination and isolation from their peers who donʼt understand what happens when they see a seizure occur.

 It is important for the public to know how to respond to all seizures. So people must know how to help seizure patients through first aid treatments. Some general steps to help someone who is having any type of seizures are to stay calm and remain with the person until the seizure ends, keep the person safe and protect them from injury by removing any nearby objects, and turn the person onto their side. Call 108 if the seizure is prolonged for more than 5 minutes. Do not restrain the person and do not put anything in the mouth during an attack.

 To lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures and save lives. This lecture highlights the information on epilepsy and its causes, symptoms, and medications and most importantly how to help the seizure person by providing first aid treatment.

 SIMATS – Saveetha College of Allied Health Sciences conducted an awareness program on
Sustainable Development Goals in Saveetha School of Physical Education on the topic entitled “Awareness on seizure disorder”.