Epilepsy can impact physical and emotional well-being, but treatments can help.
Epilepsy can severely affect your quality of life, and while there is no cure for epilepsy, there are interventions that can prevent symptoms, counteract side effects of medicines and control seizures. In other words, epilepsy doesn’t have to sideline you from the game of life.
In order to determine the best treatment plan for managing epilepsy, it is important to understand the impact that psychosocial factors have on your life and how that interacts with an epilepsy diagnosis.
The impact of epilepsy
Epilepsy can affect your physical mobility, memory and even your ability to work or drive, so treatment is crucial. In addition to these physical effects, the emotional impact of epilepsy on a patient should not be understated.
“We look at the whole person to figure out their psychosocial history and assess appropriate interventions,” said Caitlin Zoeller, LCSW, social worker with Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers. “That means taking a detailed inventory of someone’s emotional, mental and physical health to get a complete picture.”
Epilepsy and medications to treat it may impair concentration, affect energy levels, or lead to anxiety or depression that ultimately affect a patient’s quality of life. A psychosocial assessment helps providers ensure that an intervention plan treats the whole patient. They may recommend medication, surgical treatment, support groups, physical therapy or driving assessments to support the patient’s journey.
Education is key
It is important to have patience with yourself and others as you process your diagnosis and condition. In addition to understanding your psychosocial history, it also can be important to educate friends, family and co-workers about the condition.
“People see things on TV or in movies about people with epilepsy,” Caitlin said. “Epilepsy symptoms vary widely. People might make assumptions about your condition that don’t necessarily apply to you.”
The first step is to educate the people around you about your epilepsy and to be honest about your limitations.
“You want to make sure they understand how epilepsy may impact your life, like not being able to drive after a seizure or missing work,” Caitlin said.
You also can invite people to educate themselves.
“Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers have an abundance of resources for patients to use and share with others,” Caitlin said. “The most important piece of advice I can share is that you don’t have to go it alone if you have epilepsy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Source: nortonhealthcare.com, Sara Thompson