March is Epilepsy Awareness Month!
Epilepsy Awareness Month takes place across Canada in March every year. During this month, Canadians can learn about what epilepsy is and how it affects people’s lives in different ways.
Epilepsy Awareness Month
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes people to have seizures. A seizure happens when brain activity is disrupted for a few seconds to a few minutes. Moreover, the kind of seizure a person has depends on which parts of the brain are affected.
Some people experience tonic-clonic seizures, which involve loss of consciousness and convulsions. Alternatively, other people have seizures that cause less severe symptoms, such as:
- Confusion for a few moments
- Brief involuntary twitching of one part of the body, such as eyelid movement
After seizures, people’s ordinary brain function returns, although they may be confused at first. They may also need to rest for a few minutes or an hour, depending on the severity of the seizure.
Many people with epilepsy can reduce or eliminate their seizures through medication or other treatments. Increased research may lead to more types of treatment.
Many people do not have friends, family members, or colleagues who have epilepsy. As a result, they may assume that someone with epilepsy cannot do every-day things, such as:
- Raise families
- Make friends and have fulfilling social lives
Furthermore, people may feel uncomfortable when someone discloses that they have epilepsy. This lack of knowledge may lead to discrimination. For instance, someone may not want to hire a person who has epilepsy. Epilepsy Awareness Month is a chance to help the public learn more about all the things people with epilepsy are capable of. Raising awareness should reduce the discrimination that people with epilepsy may live with.
People who have epilepsy experience it in different ways. As a result, each person who discloses epilepsy may explain:
- What usually happens during a seizure
- How often they have seizures
- Whether seizures usually happen at certain times of day
- How long their seizures usually last
- Whether seizures happen randomly or in patterns
- Whether seizures are triggered by certain environmental conditions, such as:
- Flashing lights
- Increased stress
- If they have warning signs before seizures, and if so:
- What the warning signs are
- How much time there is between warning signs and seizures
- Whether they need to rest after seizures, and for how long
Moreover, some people with epilepsy have service animals, while other people’s epilepsy is invisible. Similarly, some people with epilepsy can drive, while others travel independently by bus, cab, or walking.
In short, epilepsy can affect people’s lives in various ways. Nonetheless, people who have epilepsy can live full lives. When people know how their epilepsy affects them, they can be fully involved in their work, families, and social lives.
Happy Epilepsy Awareness Month to all our readers!