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Treatment for Seizures and Epilepsy

Updated on July 30, 2009

Treatment for Seizures and Seizure Disorders

Treatment for seizures has evolved over the years. The most common treatment is medications, but sometimes medications don't work with hard-to-control seizures, you may want to consider a different treatment in addition to a low dosage of medication, or no medication if the treatment is successful in controlling the seizures.

Seizure treatment has evolved greatly throughout the years. When choosing a seizure treatment, doctors considuer not just the number of seizures, but also your quality of life. Having continued seizures and high doses of medicines can impede your life in terms of intellectually, psychologically, socially, and educationally.

When prescribing treatment for seizures and epilepsy, there is an individualized approach that determines which treatment is best for you and your life.

VNS Therapy (Vagus Nerve Stimulation)

Vagus Nerve Stimulation, or VNS therapy, is not for everyone, so you should speak to your neurologist about the treatment. When I read about the treatment in a Nursing magazine, I checked out the treatment online, and inquired about the treatment with a nurse representative at Cyberonics. The nurse contacted me and we spoke about my son's condition. We spoke about the treatments my wife and I have tried with him, but since then, his Tonic Seizures have gotten better.

I have brought up the treatment with out doctor, but as of now, we still have room to up his medications. I still have hope with VNS treatment, but the therapy option will not stop medication, just lower the dosage.

VNS Therapy is the first non-drug therapy that has been approved for epilepsy and seizure disorders in the past 100 years. The treatment is an adjunctive treatment that is used to reduce the frequency of the seizures in adults and adolescents over 12 years old that suffer partial onset seizures that are not eased with medications.

If you have tried at least two different medications and are not satisfied with your current medication in terms of seizure control, side effects, or your quality of life, you may consider VNS Therapy.

The VNS treatment has been proven to provide a safe and effective way to control seizures. The result for many people is improved alertness and memory; you may experience more energy and better moods. And, because it is not a drug, VNS Therapy has allowed many people to reduce the number or dosage of medications.

The way it works: The VNS system acts like a pace maker to control the electrical signals in the brain. The generator is implanted under the skin in the upper chest, and two flexible wires are attached to the left vagus nerve in the neck. The generator sends impulses to the vagus nerve, which delivers the impulse to the brain. The impules act as stimulation that prevent electrical irregularities within the brain that cause seizures.

VNS treatment does not typically cause side effects like depression, dizziness, confusion, weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, and low energy. The most common side effects can include hoarseness, a prickling feeling on the skin, shortness of breath, and increased coughing; these side effects tend to diminish over time. Because placing the VNS generator, is considered surgery, there is risk of infection

VNS Therapy can be used to treat depression (see video below).

The Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet is a carefully calculated diet that is high in fat, low in protein, and nearly carbohydrate free. The diet can be used to help treat seizures in children that can be difficult to control. It helps the body run off of glucose as a form of energy, and in turn the body burns the stored fat.

The diet has been proven effective, but many centers have stopped using the diet to control seizures as newer, more effective medications have been developed.

This diet is a medical therapy treament and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor and/or dietician. The diet controls calorie input and requires that you should only eat what's been included in the calculations, providing that 90% of the day's calories as fats.

The diet is more commonly suggested to parents of children who suffer seizures and seizure disorders. About 2 of 3 children on the diet are successful in controling seizures.

This is NOT a diet that is do-it-yourself. This diet MUST be monitored because it is a serious treatment.

Epilepsy Surgery

Surgery is an alternative for some people whose seizures cannot be controlled by medications. The benefits of surgery should be weighed carefully against its risks, because there is no guarantee that it will be successful in controlling your seizures.

Patients with partial epilepsy who are considered for surgery have difficult-to-control seizures that have not responded to aggressive treatment in terms of medication. Recently, surrgery is considered sooner than in the past because studies have shown that the earlier surgery is performed, the better the outcome, versus wait years or decades of medication trial and error.

Surgery is now being performed on some patients whose seizures have been uncontrolled for only 1 or 2 years. At least two single drugs and a combination of two or more drugs should be tried before surgery is considered, as it is probably the most extreme treatment for seizure disorders.

Surgery can be especially beneficial to patients who have seizures associated with structural brain abnormalities, such as benign brain tumors, malformations of blood vessels (including disorders such as arteriovenous malformations, venous angiomas, and cavernous angiomas), and strokes.

State-of-the-art technology is applied to perform the safest and least invasive procedure that will help the patient to achieve the highest possible quality of life.

Epilepsy: What about Surgery?

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor, physician, or specialist. The information that I have provided is from personal research. For more information, always ask your neurologist for help.

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    • profile image

      n aziz 6 years ago

      realy learnt alot very beneficial will use ideas i have 2 children with epilepsy

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago

      I'm so happy to have stumbled across your hub. It's great to see people writing about epilepsy on hubpages! Keep it up!

      Great information, mlowell.

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