How Epilepsy Affect The Life of a Child and Its Treatment

Epilepsy is a group of related disorders characterized by a tendency for recurrent seizures.

Updated: January 19, 2018

Epilepsy is a group of related disorders characterized by a tendency for recurrent seizures. Non-epileptic seizures are called as pseudoseizures which may be caused by psychological issues or stress. These are not accompanied by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
Normal EEG readings and lack of response to epileptic drugs will help differentiating non-epileptic seizures from epileptic seizures. These types of seizure may be treated with psychotherapy and psychiatric medications.

How epilepsy affect the life of a child?

Some of the factors associated with epilepsy that can affect the life of a child include:

Triggers for seizures:

Stress, excitement, boredom, missed medication or lack of sleep are some of the factors that can trigger seizure. Any pattern of seizures can be recognized by keeping a diary of the child's seizures. If you can recognize triggers that are causing the seizure, avoiding them as far as possible may help to reduce the number of seizures your child has. Getting enough sleep and well-balanced meals, will help keep your child healthy and may help to reduce their seizures.

Vaccination:

Every child is recommended to get vaccination to get immunized against infectious diseases. This includes children who have epilepsy. GP or pediatrician of your child can give you more information about immunization.

Behavior:

Having epilepsy and taking AEDs will not affect the behavior of some child. However, a change in the child's mood or behavior such as becoming irritable or withdrawn may be noticed in some cases. Irritable or hyperactive behavior may be a side effect of AEDs in few child. This may just be part of growing up regardless of having epilepsy for many children.
Encouraging your child to talk about epilepsy may help them feel better.

Leisure activities:

Most children with epilepsy can take part in the same activities as other children such as swimming and cycling provided there is someone with your child who knows how to help if a seizure happens. Seizures may change over time as the child grow older, either in type or frequency. If the child is seizure-free for over two years while taking AEDs, they are suggested to slowly stop medication.

Risks for other medical issues:

Epilepsy can increase the chance of having a mood or learning disorder in a child. Headaches, ulcers, and other physical conditions are also common.

Epilepsy Treatment for Children:

A pediatrician or pediatric neurologist is normally responsible for their general medical care. Some of the treatment option include:

Anti-epileptic drugs:

These medications can reduce the number of seizures and in some cases eliminate seizures completely. The medication must be taken exactly as prescribed to be effective. The pediatrician can discuss with you whether AEDs are the best option for your child. Once the child are on AEDs that suit them, mostly they stop having seizures.
AEDs can cause side effects for some children. As the body gets used to the medication, or if the dose is adjusted some side effects go away. Seizures can get worse or start again if you stop or change the medication of your child without consulting your pediatrician.
Although AEDs work well for most of children, this does not suits for every child. The pediatrician may consider other ways to treat the epilepsy of a child if AEDs do not help the child.

Ketogenic diet:

This high fat, low carbohydrate diet can help treat epilepsy for those children who do not respond to medication.

Brain surgery:

Depending on the type of epilepsy the child have and the location in the brain where seizures start, it may be possible for some children to have surgery. The area of the brain that causes seizure activity can be removed or altered. Surgery may be an option when medication can not decrease the number of seizures. The most common surgery is a resection which involves removing the part of the brain where the seizures begin. Most often, the temporal lobe is removed in a procedure known as temporal lobectomy which may stop seizure activity.
After surgery, some children are able to cut down on antiseizure medications or even stop taking them. But in some cases the child need to continue some medication to help prevent seizures after successful surgery.


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