Changing The Way Society Understands Mental Health

It’s no secret that mental health is routinely treated differently than physical health, but sometimes it’s difficult to understand how or why this affects us. This disparity can take many shapes and forms, ranging from negative societal perceptions to discrimination in health coverage for mental health. Consequently, this unequal treatment of mental and physical illnesses leads to unequal results.

If we don’t recognize mental illnesses as physical health issues, then we will never get people the treatment that they need. One of the few certainties that I have learned is that mental health is just as important as physical health. In fact, mental health is physical health; the two are inseparable. It baffles me that many people continue to make a distinction between the two.

In an effort to better understand the subtlety of mental illness, I have sought out opportunities that have changed both my life and my perception of mental illness. I went from reading articles online in my free time to doing hands-on research about the physiological development of mental illness.

While our current generation of medication and treatment can be frustrating at times, I have seen how learning more about the underlying biochemical pathways holds great promises for the future. My journey has also become an adventure all across the nation advocating for a more humanistic perspective of mental health. The ability to speak up and share what I’ve discovered with people and the chance to connect with others in similar experiences have been some of the most fulfilling experiences in my life.

Ironically, the same fluidity and complexity of mental disorders that I find so fascinating has prevented those same disorders from gaining societal acceptance in the same way that physical illnesses have. They are just as real, but they are sometimes more difficult to understand. The social stigma that those living with mental illness experience essentially stems from this fundamental lack of understanding of mental disorders as physical illnesses. This is what makes living with mental illness so hard and is something that we all need to recognize to a greater extent, myself included.

Initially, I dismissed my mental illness as simple craziness. During my crippling depression I couldn’t lift myself from my bed for days. It was naive to ignore the fact that there are people behind these diseases, and that their illnesses don’t encapsulate their personalities. If I dismiss you as crazy, then how can we start a dialogue? We need to begin by empathizing and loving those who we don’t fully understand. Whether this takes the form of a quick post on social media or a late-night conversation with a loved one in desperate need of support, simply speak up. Speak out. Be heard. Show love. Listen well.

This change doesn’t come easy. In fact, it was only through understanding the complexity of my mental illness that I gradually came to learn—through trauma, confusion, and grief—more about myself and the human condition than I had ever thought possible. My experiences with mental illness in my family challenged me to become a more compassionate and patient individual.

From my personal experiences, my biggest takeaway has been that a fundamental difference between mental progress and debilitation comes from understanding your current situation. The thoughts and worries we all experience are real and important regardless of whether our situation conforms to others’ ideas of mental health. If we can accept our current state, then we can begin to move forward. Mental wellness is not a mind over matter issue—nobody claims it is—but it does involve a certain level of acceptance.

At the end of the day, however, I’m still a youngish confused, weak man trying to process what mental illness really means to me. My greatest fear, however, is not that I am hopeless to change our society’s perception of mental illness, nor that I can’t adequately solve the world’s disconnect between mental and physical health issues. Instead, I fear that we possess a voice and a power to effect change, and yet we fail to speak out and bond together as equals.

If nothing else, everyone reading this can simply increase their familiarization with those living with mental illness around them to broaden their spectrum of receptive comfort. Hearing the stories of others can widen our capacity for love if we only allow ourselves to learn from a wider variety of experiences. We have all been given a voice and the ability to listen, please use these gifts to start affecting the way we perceive mental health. You are never alone.

Steven Connelly

Supporting Men with Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues can affect anyone irrespective of gender, age, socioeconomic status or cultural background. However, certain mental health conditions can present differently in men than women.

In Scotland males have some form of common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety or stress related conditions. However, they only make up one third of referrals received by psychological services.

Men are less likely to seek help and psychological intervention, so despite there being more women diagnosed with mental health problems, men are more likely to commit suicide, mainly before the age of 50. Being less willing to discuss emotional needs and mental health difficulties can delay access to appropriate treatment and recovery, leading to serious debilitating consequences.

Spotting the signs and symptoms:

Men and women tend to present with different signs and symptoms of mental illness, with men more commonly presenting with one or more of the following:

Anger and irritability

Aggression

Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless or on edge

Increased risk taking behaviours

Increased use of alcohol and drugs

Sleep difficulties

Suicidal thoughts, though may not discuss with others

Physical health symptoms such as pain/aches

Obsessive thinking

Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life

Why are mental health symptoms different in men?

Societal norms and expectation – concept of ‘masculinity’ and expectation to adhere to the ‘norms’

Attitudes – men are generally more competitive and want to feel strong and in control. They are less likely to share their vulnerability

Coping mechanism – instead of sharing emotions and feelings, they may use drugs, alcohol or other risk taking behaviours

Different hormonal changes

Stress and pressure – expectation of being the breadwinner creating financial, employment and family pressures

Recognising the signs of mental illness in one of your patients, as early as possible, is the first step towards them accessing support and help. Early diagnosis, intervention and treatment can improve outcomes, recovery and overall quality of life.

Considering the differences across conditions

Substance misuse

Men are more likely to be involved in alcohol and substance misuse and are nearly 3 times more likely to be dependent on alcohol

67% of British people who consume alcohol at ‘hazardous’ levels are male, along with 80% of those dependent on alcohol

Almost 3 quarters of people dependent on cannabis and 69% of those dependent on other illegal drugs are male

More men who use drugs are admitted into hospital and die, compared to women who use drugs

Men suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health difficulties are more likely to have problems with alcohol and substance misuse. Men may use alcohol or substances as a means of avoiding emotional pain and distress and can be an effective avoidance strategy for the short term, with detrimental long-term mental health consequences

It is a well-known fact that those who misuse alcohol and illicit substances can show increased anger and aggressive behaviour

Depression

Fewer men than women are diagnosed with depression as they either do not seek help or attempt less to minimise the distress

Men are less likely to share their feelings and emotional needs than women

Men suffering from depression may hide their emotions and feelings and appear angry, irritable and aggressive whereas women may appear sad and emotional

Men may present to their doctor with more physical health symptoms such as pains, aches and physiological symptoms of anxiety rather than low mood

Suicide

Suicide is one of the leading killers in men under 50 years of age

Men are three times more likely to take their own life compared to women and 4 out of 5 suicides are by men.

Although more women attempt suicide, more men are successful due to the more dangerous methods they use.

If you ever feel this way, please join us in our Safe, secure, confidential and non judgemental space.

Everyone is welcome, join us from 6 – 8pm once a fortnight.

Our next meeting takes place on 15 October

Saltcoats Library

Springvale Place

Saltcoats

Ayrshire , KA21 5LS

We are all looking forward to seeing you all. #LetsTalk #MentalHealthMatters

Steven Connelly

Stigma within mental health and men.

Part of the stigma that still exists about mental health for men is that men have greater difficulty talking about their own struggles than women do. You may notice that online you see more talks, more blogs, and more online content on the subject from women than men.

 

Why does it seem to be more difficult for men to address their own mental health?

There are still some outdated stereotypes as a man suffering from depression; men as a source of Strength, dominating positions of power, the hunter-gatherer, the idea that strong and silent is alluring/attractive, the “show no weakness” bravado of heroes in our media.

 

In many of these macho images, there is little room for showing poor mental health. The men who are looked up to in society (famous, wealthy, successful, powerful) are not always ready to admit their struggles in public and that can leave the “average bloke” feeling uncertain about speaking out.

 

It is great that the tide is turning for men one by one, more of these men are coming forward and openly addressing mental health; footballers, politicians, actors, anyone can talk about it.

 

We do not consider that these men are weak or failing by speaking out, in fact, they are the brave ones.

 

They are the ones who are “manning up”

 

That expression is still often used for the wrong reasons, unfortunately. The concept that mental health can be conquered by simply acting more “like a man” is misguided.

 

Depression, anxiety, personality disorders and schizophrenia are no more or less difficult based on whether you got a Y chromosome in your DNA.

 

There has never been a better time to seek – and be accepted for – help with your mental wellbeing. Always remember that you can get better, the first step has to be yours.

 

If you are suffering from poor mental health, it might feel like the hardest step to take but it can lead to easier and better steps too.

 

Let’s consider the following?

 

• Talking to someone you trust, a close friend or family member, maybe even your doctor

• Considering why you find it uncomfortable asking for help and whether those reasons are actually stopping you from getting the support you need

• reading more about mental health and the varied guidance and advice that is easily accessible

• Attending A New Hope Peer support group which is based is salcoats North Ayrshire or the many groups that are circulating around the country that are free and open to anyone 

• consider what are your weapons in this fight (i.e. the ways you combat poor mental health) – it could be anything from regular exercise to spending time with friends (for me, creative writing helps to lift me during the darker days)

• finding stories and case studies that will help you understand what other men have been through

• getting involved in the great campaigns and activities that raise awareness of mental health – we support the campaign State of mind which is about men’s mental health

Talk about your feelings

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.

 

Eat well

There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel – for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect. But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health.

 

Keep in touch

Friends and your support network that you have engaged with with A New Hope.

We can all offer support and different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head. We can all help keep you active, keep you grounded and help you solve practical problems.

 

Take a break

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you.

 

Accept who you are

Some of us make people laugh, some are good at maths, others cook fantastic meals. Some of us share our lifestyle with the people who live close to us, others live very differently. We’re all different.

 

Keep active

Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. Exercise also keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy.

 

Drink sensibly

We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.

 

Ask for help

None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.

 

Do something you’re good at

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it and achieving something boosts your self-esteem.

 

Care for others

Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.

It’s important to take care of yourself and get the most from life.  Mental health is about the way you think and feel and your ability to deal with ups and downs. 

 

Making simple changes to how you live doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up loads of time, but it can make a big difference.

A New Hope Peer, Support and social group.

Please join us once every fortnight.

Saltcoats Library

Springvale Place

Saltcoats

Ayrshire , KA21 5LS

The next group takes place on Tuesday 15 October.

Steven Connelly

Finding Hope, Digging Deep and choosing Life.

My name is Steven, i am a current volunteer with Epilepsy Connections with there projects within Glasgow and throughout Ayrshire and Arran which I enjoy very much.
My Favourite Food: Scottish Fish Supper ( you can’t beat them) 😂😂
Favourite Song: Comfortably Numb .Can i have a favourite album also? Pink Floyd: Off The Wall, a classic, and my list is endless 😂.
Favourite Movie: Oh that’s a difficult question, has to be Trainspotting.

My life was in an extremely dark place for about two years from 2015 till 2017 and am proud and privileged to say that epilepsy connections and epilepsy futures has absolutely changed my life!

As a result of graduating from the Epilepsy Futures programme a little over two years now, (crikey) and Epilepsy Futures is approaching there fifth set of participants later on this year.

I am successful involved in a whole range of new, exciting and fully supported opportunities which has been opened to me through this incredible organisation.

After completing my time on Epilepsy Futures, it was suggested to me that I should definitely consider becoming a Volunteer Peer Mentor with group two of Futures.

I grabbed all these excited and worthwhile opportunity’s and I haven’t looked back…this is where my volunteering journey really begin with Epilepsy Connections.

I have a huge passion and enthusiasm for supporting individuals living with epilepsy and I strongly believe in the importance of delivering positive messages and training to vulnerable groups, organisations and individuals regarding epilepsy and providing awareness and reducing the stigma and discrimination of suicide and people living with mental health conditions.

I want people to understand that although life with epilepsy and mental health can be really awful at times, with the correct support, guidance and information, there is light at the end of the tunnel and we will all get there together. My experience has changed my life, and I want others to have that experience also.

Discovering that you have Epilepsy can be one of the most challenging and distressing moments an individual has to experience and face in life. You may feel frightening, nervous, worried, panic stricken or even hatred. I can assure you there is support out there and your never ever alone. I promise to everyone that there is people out there would do care. I have the most wonderful and supportive Epilepsy Specialist nurse and Epilepsy fieldworker.

Its critical to keep in mind, these feelings you are experiencing are common of a person with an Epilepsy diagnosis – this is OK though and a perfectly natural element of confronting a burden that can be seriously life altering.

It is Important to state Epilepsy doesn’t have to prohibit you and define you from living a happy and fulfilling life, with the appropriate treatment and support, it is extremely possible to live a life of positivity, satisfaction, happiness and enjoyment. I have, i believed I was all alone, i felt that know one cared and i was always a burden and I would be better off dead, this is not the case now (well at times anyway)

There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be living with Epilepsy. Fundamentally , everyone’s lives are different, and how you manage your diagnosis wither it’s epilepsy or a mental health condition etc and move forward will vary from person to person.

At the age of 21, I was diagnosed with tonic clonic Epilepsy, after successfully accomplishing seizure free status from a long developing period of petit mall absence seizures) as a child, where I experienced 300+ per day for seven years.

There is an explanation to why these shocking and terrifying seizures had came upon me at four years of age but let’s not get into that.

Unfortunately it is what it is and with a majority of individuals epilepsy just happens and we have no control over them. I have almost been seizure free for for nine weeks, I hate counting, not something I do but onwards and upwards.

Epilepsy certainly does not have to stop you from achieving anything you want. it’s not the end of the world, it feels like that, but it’s not. Their is so many incredible and important support services nowadays, there is every kind of support for everyone, never ever give up.

I have not let my Epilepsy hold me back, for many years, amongst other life experiences. There were extreme periods of darkness, every day was extremely dismal, leaving the house was a massive challenge, putting on brave faces every where i went. However i have certainly realised, life is far to short, I’ve got a life and I am most certainly going to live it.

Thanks to Epilepsy Connections and Futures, i have learned that self-acceptance is key, however social acceptance requires huge efforts especially in the fight against stigma, which we often have to cope with on a daily basis, but, why should we?

Reflecting back on my time at Futures. I am generally filled with emotions as my life has changed immensely for the better.

I am not that young man anymore (well kinda) who was scared and embarrassed to leave the house in the event of a seizure occurring, awaiting the next episode and dislocated his shoulder.

I am exceptional and remarkably proud of my positive and successful outcomes and the influence and advantages that Futures has had on my life and for engaging in friendships that I definitely know will be friends and a support network for life.

I have discovered from my own futures life experiences that I have a passion, enthusiasm and determination to help support individuals living with epilepsy and people struggling with mental health issues.

i am absolutely embracing all opportunities with Epilepsy Connections since graduating from the Futures programme. I am honoured and privileged to now be a volunteer with Epilepsy Connections.

Since volunteering for Epilepsy Connections my skills and confidence have greatly strengthened, I have been able to present workshops and be a guest speak at a whole range of events that I would never have thought possible before being involved with the organisation.

I have also made lifelong friendships within the epilepsy community that are so important to me! As my confidence grew I have become more involved across the organisation…I also now volunteer to help support the operation of Epilepsy Connections Children and Families Project, which means that approx. every 6 – 8 weeks, we go and have fun with a different activity e.g the Go –Karting. During this volunteering I am able to help children with epilepsy and their families to access some quality time and fun, it is very close to me as I was diagnosed with Epilepsy when I was 4 years old.

I also volunteer to help support the operation of a monthly social group run by Epilepsy Connections, called Friends Connected, this is for service users who would like to come out, relax and socialise for a few hours at a local Ten Pin Bowling site. It is a fantastic way for people to make new friends and discover that they are not alone.

I am now in part time employment at the moment, which I am really proud and excited about. My role is a Community Pioneer as part of the CO – OP business helping to bring communities together.

I am delighted soon to be published in the Humans Of Scotland book as part of Health and Social Care Alliance.

The photo shoot for the book took place last week in Edinburgh which was fascinating, interesting and an exciting experience. I am was extremely anxious about getting professional photographs taken of myself, the photographer made me feel comfortable and put me at ease straight away.

Our First Minister for Scotland Nichola Sturgeon has written the foreword for the book and myself and my partner have both been invited to the official book launch through in Edinburgh that we are both looking forward to.

I am honoured and privileged to be shortlisted in the top three for the Inspiration Individual Award at this years Self Management Awards as part of the Heath Care and Social Care Alliance. I am extremely proud, passionate and delighted of what I am doing and achieving. Thank you everyone at the Alliance.

It has been an extraordinary and inspiring experience. I would absolutely recommend volunteering to anyone, it has opened up new opportunities for me, given me new skills and allowed me to meet some really special people. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that I have been fortunate to work with and meet during my journey over the past few years, too many to mention, you all know who you all are.

References:

https://www.epilepsyconnections.org.uk/

https://www.epilepsyconnections.org.uk/ epilepsyfutures

https://www.epilepsyconnections.org.uk/ get – involved

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/real-life/brave…

https://www.thenational.scot

https:// www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mentalhealth

https://www.alliance-scotland.org.uk/

https://www.alliance-scotland.org.uk/humansofscotland

https://www.alliance-scotland.org.uk/ /privacy-policy/self

Steven Connelly

Our Broken LGBT Community🌈 🌈

Unfortunately the majority of cases of domestic abuse involve a male abusing a female. A less widely reported statistic is the level of domestic abuse in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The LGBT Foundation quotes a survey which estimates that 1 in 4 LGBT people experience domestic abuse. This figure puts the issue on par with that of abuse against heterosexual women.

But as with heterosexual relationships, many cases of LGBT domestic abuse go widely unreported. One of the main reasons is because an LGBT person experiencing domestic abuse is less likely to tell a health care professional for fear of disclosing their sexual orientation.

Unique Aspects of LGBT Domestic Abuse

In any domestic abuse scenario the abuser will seek to gain power and control through the use of:

• Emotional bullying

• Physical violence and threats

• Social isolation

• Financial control

• Sexual abuse

However, in addition to these, there are also forms of abuse which are specific to the LGBT community. In those cases the abuser may also:

• Question your sexuality by suggesting you are not a “real” lesbian or a “real” man.

• Reinforce internalised homophobia, biphobia or transphobia by suggesting that being heterosexual is the “correct way to be”.

• Argue that health care professionals and the authorities will not take you seriously on account of your sexual orientation.

• Threaten to disclose your sexual orientation to your family, ex-partner, work colleagues or employer.

• Threaten to use your sexual orientation against you in court when dealing with issues such as deciding the residence or contact with children.

• Argue that abuse is not possible between two people of the same-sex, or brush it off as “fighting”.

The government defines domestic abuse as “any incident or pattern of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.”

The implementation of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 gives those who are experiencing abuse from a same-sex partner equal rights to those who are in a heterosexual relationship.

If you have and are experiencing domestic abuse or a survivor of abuse you can get support and advice from the National Helpline Broken Rainbow.

It is an organisation which specialises in offering support for LGBT people experiencing domestic abuse. Your are not alone, asking for help and support is the bravest, strongest and most courageous step that anyone can ever take.

Steven Connelly

Men Are Victims Too.

Men usually are blamed for abuse because of modern gender stereotypes. Women are perceived as the weaker, gentler sex, whereas men are perceived as being stronger and having natural tendencies toward violence. These stereotypes are false.

It is true, however, than women tend to abuse men differently than men abuse women. Women generally favor emotional abuse tactics, making the abuse much more difficult to detect.

Examples of the ways women perpetrate emotional abuse include:

• Extreme mood swings

• Constant anger or displeasure

• Withholding sex

• Name calling

• Public humiliation

Women rarely inflict physical abuse in the same way as men. However, it can still happen. Examples of the ways women perpetrate physical abuse include:

• Withholding Personal Finances

• Destroying possessions

• Biting

• Spitting

• Striking out with fists or feet

• Using weapons, such as guns or knives

Women frequently are excused for these behaviors. Some excuses include “she was abused when she was younger”; “she experienced severe emotional trauma”; or “it’s just hormones.”

Even if a man does not sustain serious (or even physical) injuries from these abusive episodes, the damage manifests itself in other ways.

• Abused men are more likely to linger at work or after-work activities because they don’t want to go home.

• When asked how the relationship is going, he will hide the truth, saying, “It’s going great.” He doesn’t want to appear weak, or if the abusive partner is present, he doesn’t want to incite another episode of abuse.

• Excessive reading, watching TV, or playing video games becomes his way of escaping reality. He also may turn to substance abuse, especially alcohol.

• Abused men demonstrate unwillingness to trust, low self-esteem, emotional numbness, or depression. In severe cases, this can lead to suicidal thoughts.

• Suicidal thoughts may stimulate a sudden interest in reckless behavior. This can be as casual as reckless driving or walking into the road without looking. Or it can be a fascination with extreme sports such as mountain biking, bungee jumping, and other thrills in which death would be considered accidental.

• Sometimes, the stress will manifest itself physically with vague physical symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, indigestion, and headaches.

Seeking Help

If you are being abused it’s important to remember that you are not alone.

Please call Abused Men In Scotland, on 0808 800 0024. This incredible organisation is open between Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm.

Survivorsuk.org is here to help you also. Don’t suffer in silence and never be ashamed.

As I have previously mentioned you are not alone, and you are not weak for seeking outside help.

Steven Connelly

Issues Faced By Men With Epilepsy.

Men with epilepsy experience issues that are unique to their gender. These can be quite complex. They can vary with age, seizure type, severity, and overall health and lifestyle factors. This article will look at how epilepsy and its treatment may affect testosterone production, libido, and fertility in men.

Testosterone Production

It is estimated that 40% of men with epilepsy have lower levels of testosterone. This is the hormone that stimulates the development of male sex organs, sexual traits, and sperm.

Reduced testosterone can adversely affect energy, mood, sexual desire, sexual function, and bone strength.

It is thought that having epilepsy or anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) may lower testosterone levels.

How epilepsy could cause hormonal changes:

– Seizures can alter the release of hypothalamic and pituitary hormones.

– Temporal lobe epilepsy can have adverse effects on testicular endocrine function.

How anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) could cause hormonal changes:

– Research suggests that phenytoin, carbamazepine, and phenobarbital could reduce the level of free testosterone in the body.

Libido and Sexual Interest

All men, whether they have epilepsy or not, will experience problems with libido at some point in their lives. These problems may include losing interest in sex or having difficulty getting and/or staying aroused.

Common causes of sexual problems for men include stress, exhaustion, illness, alcohol, or having a long-term medical condition. Having epilepsy or taking AEDs could also cause problems. These can be due to:

Changes in the brain caused by seizures

Sexual desire is linked to the appropriate function of specific regions of the cerebral cortex, especially the frontal and temporal lobes. People with complex partial seizures seem to be more prone to problems with sexual desire, particularly when seizures originate in the temporal lobe. Research suggests that damage to the temporal lobe, common in people with partial epilepsy, also affects the ability to recognize subtle cues that are integral to establishing intimacy.

Exposure to anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs)

These can affect the brain regions that regulate sexuality and may also cause sexual dysfunction by secondary effects on reproductive hormones (such as testosterone). Researchers have found that diminished libido and arousal are more pronounced in men who are taking sedating AEDs, such as barbiturates, although adverse effects may also occur with any AED. In studies comparing the adverse effects of some specific AEDs on sexuality, researchers found that carbamazepine and phenytoin had more of negative effect on libido than lamotrigine.

If you are experiencing problems with libido, it is important to discuss this with a health care provider. A doctor may be able to prescribe another AED or another medication to help resolve these problems. They can also investigate other physical or psychological factors that may influence this.

Reproduction and Fertility

Research has found that men with epilepsy are at a higher risk of reproductive difficulties. This generally manifests as a lower sperm count and/or abnormal sperm characteristics.

The type of epilepsy, age of onset, and family history appear to have the biggest impact on reproductive dysfunction and infertility.

Studies have found thatmen who develop epilepsy at an earlier age (less than 10 years old) are more prone to reproductive difficulties than men who develop epilepsy at a later age. It has also been found that men with partial onset epilepsy are more prone to reproductive difficulties than those with generalized onset epilepsy.

Researchers have found that some AEDs are associated with reproductive dysfunction. Valproate has been linked to sperm tail abnormalities and reduced testicular volume. Carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine may also cause sperm abnormalities.

In Conclusion

It is important to note that epilepsy does not necessarily cause difficulties with testosterone production, libido, and/or fertility. As well, the medications taken for epilepsy should not always be seen as the culprit. Speak to a health care provider if you have questions or concerns about these issues. They have a variety of solutions that may help. You are not alone and you don’t need to tough it out. 

Steven Connelly