Impact of Seizures and Stress

Many individuals with epilepsy experience an overwhelming and overpowering connection centrally located and sandwiched between stress and seizures, with stress being a common seizure trigger.

However, a diagnosis of epilepsy may bring with it many potential stresses as well, many of which are long term (chronic). Sources of stress for people with epilepsy may include:

• seizures, and their unpredictability

• the type of seizure – focal seizures often involve unusual behaviours that many people would not recognise as epilepsy. These behaviours may be mistaken as intoxication, inappropriate behaviour or mental health problems and can cause embarrassment

• the risk of injury

• medication side effects

• teasing, bullying or social isolation

• employment difficulties and associated financial difficulties

• stigma of epilepsy

• in some cases, reduced independence.

Chronic stress may lead to increased seizures, which may consequently exacerbate the stress. 

Stress has been demonstrated to have wide-ranging detrimental effects on health, but it is a normal part of life. It is important to recognise your own signs and symptoms of stress and to use strategies that you find helpful to manage your stress levels.

Steven Connelly

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