Living with Epilepsy

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Living with epilepsy is more than just suffering from seizures. People with this condition and families face a wide array of daily challenges to normal life that vary with severity and nature of the disorder. The negative effects on quality of life can be severe and involve family and social relationships, academic achievement, and opportunities for employment, housing, and the ability to function independently. Family and community support is critical across a range of services. Understanding how epilepsy can be triggered and the affects it has on the person suffering can provide you with a way to face the day to day. Adjusting to how “normal” life is now to be lived can improve their quality of life exponentially.

Quality of life is a person’s subjective sense of well­being that stems from satisfaction with one’s roles, activities, goals, and opportunities, relative to the individual’s values and expectations, within the context of culture, community, and society. Adjusting to this new way of life can be a bit startling, but can be made into an easy transition.

By law, people with a new diagnosis of epilepsy must halt driving immediately. Individuals with a driver’s license must declare they they have epilepsy to the an issuing office. They will then be advised on when it may be possible for them to resume driving again. This will usually be after a year free of seizures.

It is not uncommon for the driving issue to be a factor in deciding whether or not to come off of medication. If you have not had a seizure for two or more years, you may be considering whether to try without medication. However, if you stop your medication and have a seizure, you will be forced to stop driving again.

Working can be somewhat of a tricky situation, but not all hope is lost. Only a few jobs exclude people with epilepsy; like pilots or people working at heights. However, there are many jobs that are still completely possible to be performed with epilepsy. Occasionally, you may run into a problem of being able to find a job due to discrimination or ill informed individuals. The Disability Discriminations Act (DDA) means that people with epilepsy should now be protected from this type of discrimination.

If you’re the type who enjoys travel and leisure, be aware that epilepsy can alter your ability for travel, but if you take proper precautions, you could possibly avoid any issues. If you’re taking medication, make sure you are stocked up for the duration of your travel. Be mindful, long journeys and jet lag may make you tired and more prone to seizures more often. Someone you’re traveling with should be made aware of your situation in the event of a seizure.

Life with epilepsy can seem like an unending battle, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Adjusting your life to fit epilepsy in isn’t as daunting of a task as it may seem. You can easily adjust your routines to avoid any mishaps. Seizures are scary and even scarier if people are not aware of what to do. Make sure you are vocal about your condition and inform others on the facts and signs of an epileptic seizure. Being prepared is the most important part of this condition, and it really doesn’t take that much effort. Living with epilepsy is something that will take some getting use to, but it should not be viewed as the end of the world.