Epilepsy or seizures - discharge
You have epilepsy. People with epilepsy have seizures. A seizure is a sudden brief change in the electrical and chemical activity in the brain.
After you go home from the hospital, follow the health care provider's instructions on self-care. Use the information below as a reminder.
Focal seizure - discharge; Jacksonian seizure - discharge; Seizure - partial (focal) - discharge; TLE - discharge; Seizure - temporal lobe - discharge; Seizure - tonic-clonic - discharge; Seizure - grand mal - discharge; Grand mal seizure - discharge; Seizure - generalized - discharge
When You're in the Hospital
In the hospital, the doctor gave you a physical and a nervous system examination and did some tests to find out the cause of your seizures.
What to Expect at Home
Your doctor sent you home with medicines to help keep you from having more seizures. This is because the doctor concluded you were at risk of having more seizures. After you get home, your doctor may still need to change the dosage of your seizure drugs or add new medicines. This may be because your seizures are not controlled, or you are having side effects.
Activity and Lifestyle
You should get plenty of sleep and try to keep as regular a schedule as possible. Try to avoid too much stress. Avoid alcohol as well as recreational drug use.
Make sure your home is safe to help prevent injuries if a seizure takes place:
Most people with seizures can have a very active lifestyle. You should still plan ahead for the possible dangers of a certain activity. DO NOT do any activity during which loss of consciousness would be dangerous. Wait until it is clear that seizures are unlikely to occur. Safe activities include:
There should always be a lifeguard or buddy present when you go swimming. Wear a helmet during bike riding, skiing, and similar activities. Ask your provider if it is OK for you to play contact sports. Avoid activities during which having a seizure would put you or someone else in danger.
Also ask if you should avoid places or situations that expose you to flashing lights or contrasting patterns such as checks or stripes. In some people with epilepsy, seizures can be triggered by flashing lights or patterns.
Wear a medical alert bracelet. Tell family, friends, and the people you work with about your seizure disorder.
Driving your own car is generally safe and legal once the seizures are controlled. State laws vary. You can get information about your state law from your doctor and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Never stop taking seizure medicines without talking with your doctor. DO NOT stop taking your seizure medicines just because your seizures have stopped.
Tips for taking your seizure medicines:
If you miss a dose:
Drinking alcohol or doing illegal drugs can cause seizures.
Your provider will tell you when you need to check the blood level of your seizure drug. Seizure drugs have side effects. If you started taking a new drug recently, or your doctor changed the dosage of your seizure drug, these side effects may go away. Always ask your doctor about the side effects you may have and how to manage them.
Many seizure medicines can weaken the strength of your bones (osteoporosis). Ask your doctor about how to reduce the risk of osteoporosis through exercise and vitamin and mineral supplements.
For women during childbearing years:
How to Respond to a Seizure
Once a seizure starts, there is no way to stop it. Family members and caregivers can only help make sure you are safe from further injury. They can also call for help, if needed.
Your doctor may have prescribed a medicine that can be given during a prolonged seizure to make it stop sooner. Tell your family about this medicine and how to give the medicine to you when needed.
When a seizure starts, family members or caregivers should try to keep you from falling. They should help you to the ground, in a safe area. They should clear the area of furniture or other sharp objects. Caregivers should also:
Things your friends and family members should not do:
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if you have:
Call 911 if:
Abou-Khalil BW, Gallagher MJ, Macdonald RL. Epilepsies. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 101.
Epilepsy Foundation website. Staying safe. www.epilepsy.com/learn/seizure-first-aid-and-safety/staying-safe. Updated October 23, 2013. Accessed September 5, 2018.
Falcone T, Palombaro AM. Quality of life with epilepsy. In: Wyllie E, Gidal BE, Goodkin HP, Loddenkemper T, Sirven JI, eds. Wyllie's Treatment of Epilepsy: Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott William Wilkins; 2015:chap 95.
Review Date: 7/29/2018
Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN, Attending Neurologist & Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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