Managing Your Seizures

Minimising the Effects So Epilepsy Doesn't Get In the Way of Your Life

When seizures can lead to bizarre behaviour and movements, it's no wonder that there are social implications when epilepsy isn't controlled. This is where being proactive can be a real help to those around you.

Because the symptoms of a seizure can be both frightening and disturbing for onlookers, it can help tremendously to make others around you aware of what epilepsy is and how to help someone who goes into a seizure.

Types of Seizures

Some seizures are so mild they are almost invisible to onlookers. The person having the seizure may experience strange sensations, lose some body functions and/or lose the ability to communicate for a period of time.

Other seizures, such as Grand Mal seizures, are very visible with bizarre behaviour and movements.

Social and Lifestyle Issues

Seizures tend to be unpredictable. You can't control when you have them. And you can't control the reactions of other people to them. Fortunately, for most people medication eliminates the unpredictability issue by preventing the seizures.

For those who don't respond to medication, the frequency and severity of seizures may also have a profound effect on the life-style available to them.

Frequent epileptic seizures can make life difficult for:

  • Anyone striving to achieve academic goals
  • A young person looking forward to that first driving license
  • An adult seeking employment

Epilepsy Management Tips

The following tips will help most people living with epilepsy to successfully minimise the social and lifestyle issues connected with epilepsy. A neurologist can tailor an epilepsy management plan that is specifically designed for your case.

  • Take your medication as prescribed.
  • Work with a neurologist for optimal management of your epilepsy.
  • Start keeping a seizure diary.
  • Learn to recognise and manage your personal triggers that suggest a potential seizure.
  • Develop a "seizure management plan" and share this with your family, friends, school or workplace colleagues so they know what to do if you do have a seizure.
  • Focus on a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
  • Manage risks, such as fire, water, heights, operating machinery and driving.
  • Learn as much as possible about the disorder. New information comes out all the time.
  • Use the epilepsy support networks you have available.
  • Research your travel options if you are considering an overseas vacation. Some travel destinations may restrict which medications you are allowed to bring into the country.

By making available information on all aspects of living with epilepsy, EAWA helps to give people the opportunity to make informed decisions about their life-styles.

Seizure First Aid


  • This type of seizure does not usually require any first–aid
  • Reassure the person when the seizure is finished


  • Move harmful objects away
  • Place something soft under the head and shoulders
  • Do not put anything in the mouth
  • Do not restrain
  • As soon as possible after the seizure has stopped roll the person onto their side to assist breathing
  • When the seizure is over the person may be confused
  • Reassure them until they are fully aware of their surroundings

Call an ambulance (000) if

  • The active or jerking movements of a tonic–clonic seizure last for more than 5 minutes
  • Another seizure quickly follows
  • The person has been injured, or
  • If you are in doubt

Complex Partial

  • Stay with the person and speak calmly in an attempt to affect their behaviour
  • Do not restrain or try to stop activity unless it is dangerous
  • Reassure the person until they are aware of their surroundings and offer assistance to get home.

Call an ambulance (000) if

  • The person has not begun to recover from a complex partial seizure in 10-15 minutes
  • Another seizures quickly follows
  • The person has been injured,
  • Or you are in doubt.

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