Epilepsy is a neurological condition that can produce a sudden sensory disturbance in an individual, causing convulsions and loss of consciousness. An epileptic seizure can very upsetting when you see it for the first time and don’t know what to expect.
For the person suffering from epilepsy, when they first have a seizure and are diagnosed it can be a tremendously difficult thing to come to terms with. While it is a rare condition, with about 1 in 100 people suffering from it, when a friend or family member is affected by epilepsy, you will want to do everything you can to help.
The first thing you need to do is research on what epilepsy is. Especially if seizures can be quite severe and traumatic, learning what it is will not only give you the confidence to face any fit but also provide you with the knowledge on how to deal with it when it happens.
For the person who suffers from epilepsy, there are undoubtedly going to be a variety of emotions. The uncertainty of whether an attack is going to come on and how the condition is going to affect their lives may cause anxiety, anger, depression and a whole host of other emotional issues. Helping them through this time and getting them to come to terms with their epilepsy is one of the major things friends and family can help with. The good news is there are plenty of resources available to allow you to do this.
What You Can Do to Help
The first thing to be aware of is that epilepsy affects different people in different ways. It’s not just about dealing with the fits. A person may lose their driving licence or have their job prospects hampered and need to find ways to cope with this particular change in their lives. Others suffering from epilepsy have reported having memory problems which can also have a big impact on daily life and their sense of wellbeing. There can also be a huge amount of stigma associated with conditions such as epilepsy, particularly when people don’t know too much about it.
Some people who find they have epilepsy also discover that their family and friends begin to treat them differently. This can lead to fears over what will happen in the future and bring on emotional problems that can compound things very quickly. The best thing you can do if you have a friend or family member who is diagnosed with epilepsy is to make sure that they know they have your full support.
It’s not just making sure that you have the compassion and time to help friends and family handle epilepsy. You should also be making sure that you use all the resources available in your local area. That could mean finding groups that meet to discuss the condition on a regular basis and provide help and advice to sufferers.
In the end, helping friends or family members who have epilepsy is about helping them to live as normal a life as possible. Yes, there are hurdles to overcome and in the early stages when the condition is first diagnosed can seem like the end of the world. But most people with epilepsy manage to live full and rewarding lives once they understand the condition and come to terms with it.