Epilepsy is considered as a highly complex disorder. An episode or a seizure can be a frightening ordeal if you do not know what to do or how to respond. Being prepared with what will happen and what to do is vital when taking care for an individual with epilepsy.
Types of seizures
Tonic-clonic (Grand Mal)
This is the seizure typically linked with epilepsy where the individual loses consciousness, falls to the ground and starts to convulse. It usually takes 5-20 minutes before the individual regains consciousness. Luckily, the individual will receive an advanced warning that a seizure is coming which is called an aura.
Absence (Petit Mal)
This seizure only involves loss of consciousness without the motor response. The individual simply stops his/her activity and stare off for a short period and have no memory during the phase.
This type involves momentary jerking motions from both sides of the body that range from subtle to dramatic. The individual is conscious during the episode and quite common among infants.
This involves automatic repetitive behavior where the individual repeats a small gesture for a brief time while the consciousness is altered. During an episode, the individual might have uncontrollable fear or laughter, smell unusual odors and experience hallucinations or de ja vu.
This is the most subjective of all types and characterized by detachment, momentary altered sensations, altered senses and inability to speak.
Stress management for individuals with epilepsy
Remember that stress, emotionally upset or deprivation of sleep can increase the risk for a seizure, thus it is vital to focus on the mental well-being of the individual.
What are the signs of the aura?
Oftentimes, those who experience an aura can prepare themselves for an upcoming seizure. If able to articulate, you can provide care. Even if it is simply informing the individual that you will not leave their side.
What should I do?
If an individual experiences a seizure, it is vital to stay calm. Remember that it is not unusual for an individual to doze off after the episode for up to 20 minutes. Simply stay with him/her and note down the span of the seizure. If you are helping an individual diagnosed with epilepsy, the following steps must be followed:
- Clear the area around the individual
- Provide cushioning to the head using any soft item
- Try to loosen up the clothing around the neck area
- Turn the individual to the side to open up the airway
- Do not attempt to place anything inside the mouth of the individual
- Do not attempt to hold or restrain the individual
- Do not perform CPR unless the individual ceases to breathe
- In case the seizure persists longer than 5 minutes, call for emergency assistance.
- Reassure the individual once he/she regains consciousness
Those who have epilepsy can continue with their regular lives under the right treatment and precautions. On the other hand, there are still scenarios when the individual might require assistance.