Manage Your Seizures with One of These Treatment Options

The medical definition of a seizure is the behavioral changes that occur following abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Seizures can be a scary event, and they can produce violent symptoms such as convulsing (when your body shakes swiftly or uncontrollably). During these convulsions, a person loses control of their muscles, which involuntarily contract and relax in spastic motion during an episode. There are many types of seizures with varied causes, but not all of them cause people to shake.

Treatment Options for Seizures

Most seizures will stop on their own in time, but not necessarily before injury or an accident has occurred. Fortunately, through the use of modern medicine and technological advances we have found several treatment options for managing these seizures.

Seizure management

Individualized treatment plans designed by a physician usually include a combination of:

Medications

Before deciding if medication will be administered, a physician will conduct a thorough risk-benefit analysis. There is no “correct” dosage amount for treating seizures; instead, the “correct” dose for each individual is the dosage that effectively controls a seizure without any substantial side effects.

As with any medicine, the risks and consequences will vary for each medicine. These risks and consequences include:

  • Type of medicine being administered
  • Dosage
  • The individual’s reaction to the medicine
  • Other medicines or medical conditions
  • Patient’s age
  • Type and length of the seizures
  • The time of day seizures occur

Surgery

Most people think of surgery—especially brain surgery—as a last resort alternative for treating seizures. Usually, this option is only considered if all other treatment plans have failed. It is possible, however, that surgery should be one of the first options to be considered in situations where early trials with anticonvulsant medications failed to yield results.

These surgeries include:

  • Focal resection – involves removing the section of the brain where the brain seizures originate
  • Hemispherectomy – This procedure is limited to very few patients, as it involves removing one entire side of the brain
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation – this approach was modelled for stimulating the vagus nerve via a small device resembling a pacemaker that is placed in the chest

Dietary Therapy

Two types of dietary therapy are used to treat seizures:

Ketogenic Diet

This is one of the very first seizure treatments practiced. It consists of consuming diets high in fat and extremely low in carbohydrates. Because the diet is so restricting, it should only be attempted under the close watch of a physician or dietician. Adhering to the diet’s strict rules is a challenge within itself.

Modified Version of the Atkins Diet

This diet was designed at John Hopkins in 2002. The modified version has been found to reduce seizure rates typically within a few months of beginning the diet. Unlike the ketogenic diet, it does not involve any fasting, food weighing, counting calories and liquids, or close observation by a doctor.

Wrapping it Up

We have found that there are several available treatment options for treating seizures. Appropriate treatment is determined on an individual basis and is based on several factors, which include patient’s health and history, age, and severity and frequency of the seizures. It is important to manage seizures so that injury and accidents do not occur. Treatment can be administered in the form of medications, surgeries, and modern diets specifically modified to manage the effects of seizures.