Seizures can be provoked by certain lifestyle triggers.
It is important to identify these triggers and minimise their impact. Sometimes it can be difficult to avoid all triggers. This needs to be balanced with your overall quality of life.
To assist adolescents with epilepsy learn how they can make wise lifestyle choices to help keep them safe and live well, we have created an educational video, available here: Living Well With Epilepsy.
The following are commonly recognised triggers:
- Lack of sleep
- Missing medications
- Alcohol and illegal drugs. Heavy drinking can cause seizures, and can also interact with anti-epileptic medications making them less effective. Heavy drinking is also associated with disrupted sleep patterns, so this can also increase the risk of having a seizure.
- Flashing lights. This is called photosensitive epilepsy and affects 3-5% of people with epilepsy.
What can you do to control your seizures?
- Ensure you get enough sleep. If you need to catch up on sleep, try sleeping in or having afternoon naps. The Sleep Health Foundation has produced some helpful handouts on adolescent sleep and developing good sleep habits (see below).
- Take your medications regularly.
- Make taking medicines part of your routine – just prior to breakfast and dinner, or when you brush your teeth.
- A medication reminder chart to cross off, or other alerts can help.
- Medication boxes are also helpful.
- When you are legally allowed to drink, adopt sensible drinking attitudes (just as you would if you were driving), avoid using illegal drugs.
- In situations where there are flashing lights and you have symptoms, remove yourself from that situation as soon as possible and let your family and friends know you are feeling funny.
Epilepsy Action Australia:
- Self-Management of epilepsy online information
Sleep Health Foundation:
Victoria State Government Better Health Channel:
- Teenagers and Sleep online information