Ways you can improve your wellbeing
In this section we look at ways you can improve your wellbeing such as exercise, diet and having a support network. Looking after your wellbeing can help you to reduce seizures and function better in your daily life.
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.
A balanced diet from different food groups helps the body and brain to function, helping us to stay healthy. This may help reduce the risk of seizures for some people with epilepsy.
How exercise can help your overall health and wellbeing, and how this may also help your epilepsy.
Many people with epilepsy have fulfilling relationships with a partner. However, epilepsy may affect relationships for some people, and problems with sex are common for both men and women with epilepsy. There are various ways to manage these problems and find support.
How complementary therapies can help to promote your wellbeing and underlying health as well as reduce your stress levels.
Mood and epilepsy
Epilepsy affects everyone differently. Some people with epilepsy may find that problems with their mood can affect their epilepsy and how it is managed. How you feel may be different and your view of epilepsy may also change over time.
Everyone feels anxious at times. When you are frightened or feel threatened, your heart beats faster, your muscles tense and your body prepares you to ‘fight’ the threat, or to run away from it – ‘flight’.
We all feel low and depressed sometimes, without it being a medical problem. Depression becomes a problem when the unhappy feelings don’t go away and it affects our daily life: eating, sleeping or being able to get out of bed.
For some people, their epilepsy and mood problems are not connected, they just happen to have both conditions. However, potential links are to do with how epilepsy affects your life as well as with your brain, your genes and your family history.
Memory can be one of the key issues that affects people with epilepsy. This can be for many reasons, including the type of seizures they have, the effects of medication, the effects of epilepsy on concentration or mood, lack of sleep, age, or the effects of epilepsy surgery.
Safety and risk
Keeping safe is important for everyone, whether or not you have epilepsy. If your seizures are controlled by treatment, your safety may not be affected. But if you continue to have seizures, safety may be an issue.
Risks due to epilepsy depend on what someone's epilepsy is like. Getting good seizure control and staying safe are ways to help reduce risks.
Some people with epilepsy find it helpful to consider safety aids or equipment that might help them with day-to-day life. For example, an alarm, or monitor, that can alert family or friends when someone has a seizure.
If your seizures are controlled by treatment, your safety may not be affected. But if you continue to have seizures, safety may be an issue. Some safety issues may not be relevant to you or you may have your own ideas about what would make situations safer for you. Here are some suggestions to help you think about your safety at home.
Some people with epilepsy choose to wear or carry with them a medical identity (ID) card or medical jewellery that says they have epilepsy.
You can ask your local social services for a 'needs assessment', which looks at your safety at home. Needs assessments are often carried out by an occupational therapist (OT). They will visit you at home to see what help, support or safety equipment you might need because of your epilepsy.