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What do I need to know about someone's epilepsy?

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What do I need to know about someone's epilepsy?

You may be able to help someone with epilepsy if you know about their seizures. Here are some questions to help you.

  • What type of seizures do they have, and what happens? For example a focal impaired awareness seizure (previously complex focal seizure) or absence seizure.
  • How long do their seizures normally last? Epileptic seizures usually stop by themselves. Although the length of seizures is different for each person a seizure usually lasts the same length of time for each person.
  • How often do they have seizures? Some people keep a note of when their seizures happen, in a seizure diary.
  • Are their seizures usually triggered or 'brought on' by anything, such as stress or tiredness?
  • Do they have a history of status epilepticus? If so, do they need emergency medication?
  • How long does it take them to recover after a seizure? Some people recover quickly, others may be confused for a while.
  • Do they take anti-epileptic drugs? When do they usually take them?
  • Do they have a medical ID card or jewellery that says how to help them during a seizure?​

Information produced: August 2018

Recording seizures factsheet

Download our guide to recording seizures

This factsheet lists what can be useful to know about someone’s epilepsy, and what can be helpful to look out for and note before, during and after a seizure.

Download the factsheet

Epileptic seizures

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.