Seventy percent of people with epilepsy can find ease and relief from their symptoms with the most common forms of treatment. Treatment might be as simple as taking anti-epileptic medication. Others may require more invasive treatments. The most common treatments for epilepsy include:
- Medication. Anti-epileptic medicines are very effective for most people. It’s also possible you will be able to discontinue taking these medicines after a certain period of time.
- Surgery. In some cases, imaging tests can detect the area of the brain responsible for the seizure. If this area of the brain is very small and well defined, doctors may perform surgery to remove the portions of the brain that are responsible for the seizures. If your seizures originate in a part of the brain that cannot be removed, your doctor may still be able to perform a procedure that can help prevent the seizures from spreading to other areas of the brain.
- Vagus nerve stimulation. Doctors can implant a device under the skin of your chest. This device is connected to the vagus nerve in the neck. The device sends electrical bursts through the nerve and into the brain. These electrical pulses have been shown to reduce seizures by 20 to 40 percent.
When to See a Doctor
A seizure can be very scary, especially if it’s happening for the first time. Once you have been diagnosed with epilepsy, you will learn to manage your seizures in a healthy way. However, a few circumstances may require you to seek immediate medical help. These circumstances include:
- Injuring yourself during a seizure
- Having a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes
- Failing to regain consciousness or not breathing after the seizure ends
- Having a high fever in addition to the seizures
- Having diabetes
- Having a second seizure immediately after a first
- A seizure caused by heat exhaustion