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Epilepsy and Seizures: Ways to Restore a Healthy Brain

By Julie Doherty

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a long-term brain condition where a person has repeated seizures also known as fits. It is thought to affect about 3 in every 100 Australians. Having just one seizure is not considered to be epilepsy — about half the people who have one seizure never have another seizure. Epilepsy is not one single condition. There are a range of different conditions that can cause seizures. Seizures usually last 1 to 3 minutes. If someone has a seizure that lasts for more than 5 minutes, call an ambulance on triple zero (000). If you see someone having a seizure, you can go to Epilepsy Action Australia’s seizure first aid resources.

Quite often during the diagnostic phase the cause of the epilepsy can involve some form of brain injury. However, for many people the underlying causes can be unknown. There is a great deal that can be done with complementary medicine, lifestyle changes, self-help strategies to reduce and often eliminate these frightening events.

The Difference between Epilepsy and Seizures

Seizures occur when the brain’s electrical activity rises above normal electrical impulse limits. These changes are transmitted to muscles and can cause dramatic, noticeable symptoms such as twitching or convulsions. These symptoms can be severe including violent shaking, loss of muscle control. However, sometimes these seizures can be mild indicating and underlying medical problem, so it is important to recognize them and seek professional medical assistance.

Seizures can be non-epileptic resulting from an injury, such as a blow to the head, a fall, or an illness. When professional treatment is sought for the condition, the seizures tend to cease and go away. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that cause non-provoked recurrence of seizures. Not all people who suffer from seizures have epilepsy.

In a minority of epileptic cases there is a clear cause, typically, the known underlying causes of the seizure will involve some injury to the brain. In up to 70% of all case of epilepsy in adults and children, no cause can be discovered.

No matter whether your seizures are epileptic related or not, they are an indication that there are some improvements can be implemented that will support your overall health, brain health and wellbeing. As you begin to gradually implement healthy lifestyle changes, gradually your symptoms may begin to subside.

It is important to keep a journal with the changes you are making, giving any particular change a few weeks to take effect, then to note any improvements, no matter how small. This will keep you motivated to continue, making these important changes.

For about one out of every two women with epilepsy, seizures tend to occur more around the time of menstrual periods. If this is happening to you, then speak with your health professionals about what could be done different or how your medicines could be changed for around this time.

You can also implement a healthy eating regime that will help to balance your hormones and many people find taking a natural Vitamin B supplement beneficial.

8 Ways to Identify Triggers & What you Can do!

Identifying triggers is not always easy. A single incident does not always mean something is a trigger. It is often a combination of factors that trigger a seizure. A good way to find your triggers is to keep a seizure journal. After each seizure, note the following:

1: Make a note of the day and time

2: What activity you were involved in, was it stressful, or difficult.

3: What was happening around you, how did you feel?

4: Unusual sights, smells, or sounds

5: Unusual stressors, challenges, or circumstances

6: What you have been eating or how long had it been since you had eaten

7: Your level of fatigue (normal or excessive). How well you slept the night before or maybe even days.

8: How much water had you drunk, you could have been dehydrated

What you Can Do!

It is helpful to keep a seizure journal. This helps you to determine if your medications or support therapies are working. To achieve a fairly accurate account of what is or isn’t working. Make simple changes to your daily eating habits, lifestyle habits and the addition of any supplements. Giving each change time to take effect, usually 1 – 2 weeks.

It is important to note how you felt, (symptoms), what you were doing, eating or drinking, just before your seizure, helping to give a clearer picture as to the cause or trigger. Quite often there can be more than one cause or trigger but given time you will gradually narrow it down.

It is important to take your journal with you when you visit your Health Care Professional. It may be useful in adjusting your medications and seeing what other changes you have put into place and how they are working. It is important to note each improvement, no matter how small. This will give you confidence and belief that what you are doing is working or of course if it is not. Providing you with important information about you and your body. How it is working and functioning, to then be able to help it restore back to optimal health.

Chronic Seizures

Often if the seizures are chronic and are linked to epilepsy, you will be put on a course of medications. For most people with epilepsy, anti-seizure medications, also known as anti-convulsant, can successfully control seizures. These AEDs do not cure epilepsy. Instead, they may stop seizures from happening.

Many Australians are now using Naturopathic Therapies to compliment and improve their health, combat illness and disease, to give them a better quality of life

It is of vital importance if you are on anti-epileptic medication that you never stop taking it suddenly or altering the dose without consultation with your Medical practitioner, Neurologist, and your Naturopathic Practitioner.

Antiepileptic medications have been shown to induce nutrition deficiencies, such as vitamin B6, calcium, vitamin D and folic acid. It is well known that long-term use of AEDs affects bone density and increases the risk of bone fractures.

For this reason, many people with epilepsy prefer to take vitamin supplementation. This is generally not a problem, but it is important for people planning on trying alternative, complimentary, herbal, or nutritional therapies to consult with their doctor or neurologist first.

Never stop taking antiepileptic medication suddenly or attempt to alter the dosage on your own. This can lead to serious or life-threatening seizures.

More about the author

Julie Doherty
Julie Doherty

Julie Doherty is a Qualified Naturopathic Practitioner with 30 plus years clinical experience, successfully treating, counselling, coaching, and guiding her clients, with overcoming their health issues. Incorporating the use of Naturopathic, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Nutrition, Remedial Massage and Remedial Therapies.

As time drew near for Julie to retire from her clinical practice. Julie commenced building an online presence: A Membership site where she has worked on for the past 6 – 8 years. Writing Articles, Books and Courses from her Professional Knowledge and Evidence-based Experience. This was a way to empower and enable people to Take Charge of their Health, with what had been successful in assisting her clients within her clinic to becoming well.

Julie’s passion has always been to Empower people, moving from vulnerability to the knowledge of how to prevent and overcome ill-health/disease. Building her Membership site is a way for her to leave a legacy of her knowledge and experience.

Julie has been Recognized as a World Health Leader in Naturopathic Medicine for her dedication and commitment to supporting people with their journey to achieving Optimal Health.