What's the difference between triggers and causes?
Triggers for seizures are not the same as causes for epilepsy. A trigger for someone to have their first seizure may be a stressful situation, but the underlying cause for that person to start having seizures may be quite different. Causes can be genetic or as a result of structural damage to the brain. See more about causes of epilepsy.
Because epilepsy can develop at any time of life, it can sometimes be difficult to work out why seizures have started. If you have a seizure, it may seem to make sense that there must be a particular cause, such as stress, or alcohol, for example. However, the likelihood of having a seizure at some point may have been there already for you, and the stress or alcohol has triggered it.
If you have difficulties with taking your medication the following strategies and tools might be helpful.
Around 1 in 100 people has epilepsy and of these people, around 3% have photosensitive epilepsy. This is when seizures are triggered by certain rates of flashing lights or contrasting light and dark patterns.
Whether to drink alcohol or take recreational drugs is a personal choice, but it is worth knowing the possible effects they could have on your epilepsy. Alcohol or recreational drugs can cause epilepsy in some people.
For most people seeing a film at the cinema is unlikely to trigger seizures. However, many films these days are released in 3D. Also Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that is being used more and more in everyday life. So what are the risks for people with photosensitive epilepsy?
Having a good night's sleep helps our brains to recover from the day's events, so that we can function well the next day. For some people with epilepsy a lack of sleep can make seizures more likely to happen, for others having seizures at night can make them feel tired during the day.
There are many different types of epileptic seizure. Any of us could potentially have a single epileptic seizure at some point in our lives. This is not the same as having epilepsy, which is a tendency to have seizures that start in the brain.