Epilepsy and the Family
Epilepsy affects not only the individual living with epilepsy, but also affects their families because, in a way, all members of a family unit of individuals living with epilepsy also suffer from the condition. If this is the case for you and your family, please see below for some tips from the BC Epilepsy Society.
After an individual has been diagnosed with epilepsy, some families can experience disbelief, anxiety or fear, which is totally normal and completely understandable. This is why it can be helpful to increase your knowledge of epilepsy by reading our FAQs about Epilepsy and our Epilepsy Fact Sheet.
Epilepsy can also affect families because not only do they have to witness a loved one dealing with a serious medical condition, but they also must help to care for them during a time that is very trying for both the individual and their families. You can learn more about caring for an individual living with epilepsy with information on Providing Child Care to a Children with Epilepsy.
Individuals living with epilepsy are also at an increased risk of stigma, which can negatively impact them and their families. As education helps to eliminate stigma, it is important that epilepsy – including its medical issues and its social/emotional/psychological impacts – is well understood by individuals, their families and their communities. You can learn more about raising awareness of epilepsy in communities through our “I AM A VOICE” campaign and our Partners in Teaching program for schools and students.
When individuals and families have difficulty coping with epilepsy, it is important to employ coping strategies to help them come to terms with the diagnosis, its effects and its treatment. Check out some coping strategies below:
- Communication: Talk with your family about how you are all feeling about epilepsy and seizures, let your family know that it is all right to feel frustrated at times and try to always be open and honest with each other
- Self-Care: Attend to your physical needs like getting enough sleep, eating health and nutritious meals and making physical activity a priority. You also can find ways to relax and rejuvenate, such as listening to music, reading a good book, taking a bath or meditating. While this may feel overly self-indulgent, rest assured that it is not. It is important to rejuvenate yourself in order to be able to better take care of others.
- Join a Support Group: The BC Epilepsy Society hosts the BC Epilepsy Parents Network (BCEPN) support groups for parents of children with epilepsy. They are held on the third Saturday of every month from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM. To find out more and to register, click here.
- Learn from the BC Epilepsy Society: Learning as much as you can about epilepsy can go a long way towards making you feel more comfortable and in control. Check out our Information Sheets on a number of topics related to epilepsy to help you become more informed and knowledgeable about epilepsy.