Coping with Epilepsy

Epilepsy is more than the seizures that you experience. Learning more about the the disorder and finding how proper treatment can control your seizures may help you become more positive about your condition.

Epilepsy overview

It is safe to say that epilepsy is not a mental illness, but rather a disorder of the brain function. However, because the brain controls everything in your body, sudden changes in the brain after a seizure may also affect, reactions, moods, and other brain functions in subtle ways. These different effects of epilepsy are not experienced by everyone who has the disorder.

Depression

People who have epilepsy seem to be at a higher risk of depression than other people. This should not be confused as getting sad moods, as depression is a heightened form of sadness that could be part of a more serious problem.

Symptoms of depression include feelings of tiredness, loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, thoughts of suicide, having trouble sleeping, not being able to concentrate or finish on a task, unexpected changes in weight among others. If depression is not recognized and treated early, it can end up as a bigger barrier to normal living than epilepsy itself.

If you sense these signs happening to you, you need to consult your doctor immediately. It could be that the medicine you are taking to prevent seizures contributes to your depression. Sometimes a change in medication will help, but a good way of dealing with these feelings is to get involved with a self-help group at your local Epilepsy Foundation.

Mood changes

An epileptic seizure sometimes bring its patients into a different kind of emotional change, probably caused by a brief seizure in the part of the brain that controls emotions, or by the epilepsy drug being taken. These feelings include fear, irritability, anger, sadness, or simply a sense of apprehension and foreboding. If these changes are directly related to seizures, they may occur just before a major seizure. Sometimes these mood swings go away on its own.

Meanwhile, if mood changes are related to medication, they may happen around the time you take it, or you may just feel your mood is affected all the time. Still, it is best to consult your doctor about these, as simple change or adjustment in medicine may make a difference. You should also remember that not all mood changes are due to epilepsy.

Memory

Many people with epilepsy may have difficulty remembering things that happen recently, or how actions or events are sequenced. It may be due to the condition itself, that you may have seizure activity in the part of your brain that handles memory, or probably due to your medication.

If you are experiencing this, consult with your doctor to see if there is anything that can be done about it. You could also refer to a memory specialist, as well as creating some strategies to cope with the problem such as making lists or having a paper and pen with you all the time, jotting down everything that you need to remember.