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Epilepsy and Seizures: How to Treat the Victim

Updated on June 10, 2013
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Sam has been a foreign war soldier, a writer of books and articles, an illustrator and a graphic artist. He also reads and plays the piano.

"Life Close-up" - Detail of a composition created by the author using Chemophographics.
"Life Close-up" - Detail of a composition created by the author using Chemophographics.

I know there are other hubs on this topic, but this is one subject that would be good to have in as many places as possible, so that more people can be informed.

Most people do not know what a seizure looks like, and also are not taught on how to handle one. Because of this, when a seizure happens to someone in the room, the worst is imagined, and people tend to panic or attempt to give aid to the victim that sometimes is detrimental. No one likes the feeling of panic when another person's life seems to be in danger. Furthermore, panic can cause stress or further damage, if you have a delicate heart or emotional state. You can avoid that feeling of helplessness by becoming informed of first aid procedures in a variety of circumstances. My Army training in first aid helped me to be calm and to offer timely and effective help when accidents happened later on in life. If you google any scenario, you will become more informed, and you may some day save someone's life or day.

In this article, I will focus on epileptic seizures. To understand the difference between an epileptic seizure and a diabetic seizure, look it up in Google.

An epileptic seizure results when the brain receives a surplus of nerve impulses. Some call it an electrical or nervous storm. In trying to handle this, the brain sends signals to the muscles to tell them to contract, or the brain simply tries to shut down. Usually, the brain manages to do this, and the person loses consciousness for about a minute or less, after going through the bodily actions of a seizure. Those actions usually begin with shaking, stiffening, jerking, limb or finger contactions, a sudden change of attitude of the victim, or his/her loss of attention.

When you see this, and the victim doesn't immediately recover from this onset, the first thing to do is to take a deep breath and remain calm. If you panic, everyone else, including the victim, will panic, if they are not informed. But serenity is also contagious, and helps greatly in such situations.

Next, clear a place around the victim, as he or she will usually fall or ease themselves to the floor. Do not try to prevent that fall. Talk quietly to the victim from the beginning, to spread the feeling of calmness. This will help relax the victim. You can say, "Well, George, I see you've come to another seizure. Don't worry about it, I'll help you through it. . . ." Invite someone to bring a pillow, or offer their jacket. Put it unobtrusively under their head. If they are on their back, and it looks like they are choking, calmly and softly help them to their left side.

Many seizure victims forget where they are, or what is happening, and thus, they are in turmoil. When someone grabs them, they instinctively interpret that as an attack and will fight back. This often causes the seizure to upgrade itself into a grand mal.

Because the victim is disoriented, and often forgets everything, their mind is in chaos, wondering what is happening, which impedes progress toward the recovery of the seizure. So your job is to tell the victim all the details, calmly: "You're having a seizure, but I'm right here, helping you. I'm Sam, and you're in Martha's house, enjoying a Sunday dinner with the family. Your seizure hit just a few seconds ago, and you're relaxing on the floor. Looks like you're doing fine, and will be up and at in a few more seconds." You can give them the date, and other information as it comes to mind. The important thing is to talk to them calmly, giving them all current information and their status. If you see that they lose consciousness, you can wait a few seconds, then say, "Good! You're relaxing, now!" Do not be concerned about the loss of consciousness, unless it last for more than a minute or two. This is when you call 9-11.

When I looked up seizure treatment on the internet, I didn't find this advice about talking to them. I came about this through my own experience. Two different epilepsy victims told me they appreciate it when people talk to them during a seizure, and let them know what's going on. As I am not a professional in this field, take that for what it's worth, and do what you think best. But if you know any seizure-prone people, I suggest you ask them about that, and about anything else you can do, in case they have a seizure.

Bascially, there's nothing you can do to prevent the seizure. It just has to take its course. But your calm and proper help can prevent it from turning into a grand mal.

Remember this: an epileptic should not be classed into any sub-human category. There are successful businessmen who are epileptics (see video below). You can find them in any walk of life, and there are many who excel in the arts. The only thing that makes them epileptic is that their brain has chanced upon a malady that enters in uninvited.

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    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Johnson 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thanks for this. I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2013 and it was almost the end of my life I thought. I do not have the grand mal seizures--only once. I have the loose consciousness and staring kinds. This article helped me out really well. I am going to recommend this to my family to read.

    • SIMPLE IS ME profile image

      SIMPLE IS ME 5 years ago

      yes you are wright with your info my son who is 18 has them but his are not jerky he goes down with a thump his is called atonic which means he has no tone at all no movement he is totally unresponsive his last up to about 45 min long and yes you do all the same things like you said above the only thing i did not see was possible rescue breathing for the person my son has stopped breathing with his and that is a whole other hub you could do good job