Epilepsy and Sleep

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physicians also take into consideration the particular concerns of each epilepsy patient. Each antiepileptic drug has a particular effectiveness profile. Some have side effects that include cognitive impairments, sleep disturbance and other adverse effects. If you or your child has epilepsy, discuss your primary concerns about side effects with your doctor in order to develop a treatment plan that allows you or your child to live as normally as possible. Also, keep in mind that therapy and strong social support are likely to play a critical role in achieving this goal.

In addition to drug treatment, there are several alternative therapies for people with epilepsy. They include:

  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation – surgical implantation of a generator into the chest that stimulates the vagus nerve in the neck and thus reduces seizure activity (side effects may include cough, sore throat, voice alteration and sleep apnea)
  • Surgery – for some epilepsy patients, it is possible to have surgery to remove the seizure producing areas of the brain. Surgery may be done on children or adults when medicines fail to effectively prevent seizures.
  • Alternative/complementary medicines – these are therapeutic approaches that have not been studied and tested using the rigorous methods of modern medical science, but that have been known to help some people. Some examples are herbal remedies and vitamin therapies. Before beginning any alternative therapy, talk to your doctor about possible side effects or negative interactions with your current treatment regimen.

Epilepsy is often associated with other health problems. Evidence from recent clinical investigations indicates that epilepsy may raise a person's risk of developing other disorders such as depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, and obesity. In some cases, the presence of one or more of these other conditions may impact a person's health more than their incidence of seizures. If you experience symptoms related to other medical conditions, talk to your doctor about managing them while maintaining your treatment for epilepsy.

COPING:

In addition to the treatment options described above, acknowledging and avoiding seizure triggers may improve seizure control for many epilepsy patients. A Norwegian study of 794 patients with

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