Epilepsy – Did you Know?
Persons with Epilepsy
- Epilepsy is a neurological disorder and affects people of all ages. It is the fourth most common neurological disorder.
- 1 in 2,000 people are diagnosed with epilepsy each year and may have them for a short while or may have for their entire life.
- Epilepsy is unpredictable seizures, can happen without warning and may start at any time or age.
- The brain controls how we think, move and feel. If the signals to each other are disrupted or too many signals are sent at once, this causes seizures.
- When a person has a seizure they may feel strange, confused, behave in an unusual way or lose some or all awareness.
- Causes of seizures are not all known with some known causes are; brain tumours, stroke, head injury, after having an infection such as meningitis and poisoning due to substance abuse such as alcohol or street drugs.
- Triggers for seizures are stress, lack of sleep, forgetting medication, flashing lights, moving patterns or shapes
- Some types of seizures are not visible and do not always include the body shacking. Some types are:
- Simple focal seizures-small part of the brain is affected.
- Complex focal seizures- large part of the brain is affected.
- Tonic seizures-the body will stiffen and usually fall backwards, they will recover quickly.
- Atonic seizures-body suddenly goes floppy and likely to fall forward.
- Absence seizures-the person is unresponsive and goes absence, usually a short period of time.
- Myoclonic seizures-has brief jerking of muscles. May be arm leg or body affecting one side or both side of the body.
- Tonic clonic seizures-person stiffens and shakes and the person is unconscious. This is the type of seizure that most people think of epilepsy.
What helps me in the workplace?
- If I do happen to have a seizure at work, do not put anything in my mouth; just make sure that I am safe. Reassure me and wait until the seizure is completely finished before you leave me.
- Most seizures do not require medical attention and will pass on their own. Call 911 if I am having a Tonic clonic seizure unless: it is my first seizure, injured myself, have trouble breathing, one seizure follows another without any recovery period in between, seizure lasts 2 minutes longer than usual and/or seizure does not stop after 5 minutes.
- Having assignments/tasks in writing as well as of orally would be beneficial.
- I may need flexible hours or short breaks at work if a seizure occurs.
- I work somewhat more conscientiously than others, to prove myself
- I tend to work more carefully and have fewer mistakes/accidents;
- I tend to have more loyalty to my employer and will miss fewer days of work.
One thing I want people to know:
“Having epilepsy can be stressful. I worry what people will think of me. If I disclose I have epilepsy, be willing to understand what my needs would be and don’t let it shadow your opinion of me.” Anonymous