Seizures occur when there happens to be an abnormal electrical activity among the neurons in the brain. This electrical activity spreads in neighboring areas and creates an uncontrolled storm. Such large amounts of electrical impulses are transmitted to the muscles which cause convulsions.
Triggers are essentially the situations that can call for an episode of seizure in patients with epilepsy. Some forms of seizures are associated with certain conditions. Such triggers are pretty subjective and depend on the type of epilepsy the patient has. The most primary form of the trigger can be not taking the prescribed medicines. It is important to understand and have full knowledge about the types of triggers for every patient with seizures. Avoiding the triggers may help to lessen the chance of encountering episodes of seizures.
What Can Trigger a Seizure?
What are the common forms of triggers for seizures in a patient? Although what may trigger seizures in a patient depends on quite a number of factors, some of the common seizure triggers may be-
- Sleep deprivation. Being overtired or not getting enough sleep may trigger an episode of seizure.
- Frequent episodes of high fever or falling sick.
- Flashing bright lights or patterns. It may be so that the patient is photosensitive.
- Intake of alcohol or drugs can trigger seizures.
- Excessive amount of stress will trigger a seizure.
- Specific food item like excessive caffeine.
- Improper diet practice.
- Missing doses of medicines.
What is Reflex Epilepsy?
At times it is noticed that for some people seizures are triggered from very specific stimuli. The association of seizure to particular stimuli is so strong that it almost looks as if the seizure is a ‘reflex’ to the stimuli. This is called reflex epilepsy. For example, photosensitive epilepsy is a type of reflex epilepsy in which seizures are triggered when lights are flashed. Similar triggers may be a loud noise. It is important to know if the patient has this form of epilepsy for better control of the seizures.
How to Control Seizures?
Seizures can be controlled by following a healthy lifestyle-
- The patient should get ample sleep to control seizures.
- The patient should indulge in stress management.
- Drugs and alcohol should be avoided.
- Medicines should be taken regularly. It is also important to know the side-effects of the medicines
- Television and computer should be skipped whenever possible. Taking breaks from the computer screen often is recommended.
- A healthy and balanced diet should be maintained.
It should be noted that any medicine has its own set of possible side-effects that may affect the victims of seizures. In most cases, the known side-effects are listed in the leaflets of the medicine packages. However, practically people face minor side effects of anti-seizure medicines. It is important to ask the doctor about the possible side-effects that may arise from a particular medicine. It may happen so that if the side-effects are really alarming, the doctor may change the set of medicines. Two forms of problems are mentioned below:
Some side-effects are relatively common but are not usually serious. This may include the problem of drowsiness which is a common side-effect of some medicines. This happens to be pretty worse when first started. It is seen that eventually this problem often eases once the body gets adjusted to the medicine. Similarly, other minor side effects may ease down after a few weeks of the treatment. If the patient becomes unsteady, this may indicate that the dosage could be high.
Some side-effects are believed to be serious but rare. The doctor may ask the patient to observe them at the very initial phase of the treatment. This may include rashes or bruising immediately after the intake of the medicine.
- Epilepsy Foundation – Seizure Triggers
- Cleveland Clinic – Epilepsy: Seizure Triggers and How to Avoid Them
- Mayo Clinic – Epilepsy: Coping and Support
- WebMD – Epilepsy: Seizure Triggers and Prevention
- American Academy of Neurology – Seizure Triggers and Precautions