Some disabilities are invisible like epilepsy. Often, when a disability is invisible people make assumptions that are not accurate. You’re in for a treat because today’s blogger, Matthew Rizer, is not only going to break down what epilepsy is, he’s also going to tell you how you can help. Take it away Matt. The floor is yours.
Epilepsy awareness is observed every year during the month of November. For many years now, doctors, patients, and researchers have tried to understand this condition. In addition, hospitals, college students, and professors have made significant contributions to researching new therapies and ways to control this neurological condition. Every year it makes me feel happy and hopeful knowing there are more treatment options for individuals living with epilepsy today than there have ever been.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition in which the brain sometimes “short circuits” resulting in seizures. Seizures can be obvious, as in the case of those that are convulsive, and subtle, as in the case of absence seizures, where a person appears conscious, but temporarily unresponsive.
There are still a lot of obstacles individuals with controlled and uncontrolled epilepsy must overcome. For example, learning requires a lot of time and studying, but it can be even harder for individuals living with epilepsy because seizure control medicines can slow down cognitive functioning. In my case, my doctors have found over the years that it takes a combination of three drugs to control my seizures. I am tremendously grateful that that those medicines are available and that we have found this “formula.” However, it has made learning more challenging. Even in everyday life, I might take a second to process a conversation. I am sure a lot of readers use a computer. Sometimes computers are slow because there are too many applications running in the background. In my case that is what it’s like being on these medicines. Each one of the medicines slows down the speed at which my brain processes information; similarly to the way too many running apps slow down an iPhone. I’ve also heard it compared to having a bad head cold.
As we observe Epilepsy Awareness month, remember there are things you can do to help. I encourage my readers to get trained. The Epilepsy Foundation of America has training on their website.
The Seizure Recognition and First Aid training is FREE.