(Last Updated on : 06/02/2014)
The onset of epilepsy is common during childhood and added to that it can occur after the age of 65. Epilepsy is a disorder of the nervous system that affects individual at any time and depends on various causes. Epilepsy is diagnosed with a disturbance of the normal pattern of neuronal activity. The individual experiences strange sensations, emotions, and behavior or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. These physical changes are called epileptic seizures. Seizures usually occur when there is a sudden change in the normal way the brain cells communicate through electrical signals. Seizures can be generated in anyone under certain conditions that includes life-threatening dehydration or high temperature. However, every seizure is not epileptic. With the intention of have a proper diagnosis, Treatment of Epilepsy begins with EEGs and brain scans. Though epilepsy is a chronic disorder, it cannot be cured with medication. Yet, various medicines can control or prevent the occurrence of seizures. The essential medicines to be consumed include: carbamazepine, sodium valproate, lamotrigine, phenytoin, oxcarbazepine, ethosuximide, gabapentin, levetiracetam, tiagabine, topiramate, vigabatrin, phenobarbitone, primidone, and clonazepam. The medicines work by stabilising the electrical activity of the brain.
The Treatment of Epilepsy depends on the conditions just before and after a seizure. However, the exact moment of starting treatment for epilepsy is not known as the seizures can occur and recur after a long gap of time. In addition to that, in some cases a seizure lasts longer also. The most common used medicine for epilepsy is diazepam. The mainstay of treatment of epilepsy is anticonvulsant medications. Anticonvulsant medication treatment remains for life long. However, anticonvulsant can be used according to the conditions created by seizure. Besides medicines, surgery and alternative treatment also plays a vital role in preventing epilepsy.
When the epilepsy syndrome is prolonged, neurosurgery can be a mode of Treatment of Epilepsy. Whilst epilepsy remains severe and is not controlled after trying several different epilepsy medicines, surgery might help in this regard. Epilepsy surgery is designed to locate the "epileptic focus" (the location of the epileptic abnormality) and to determine if respective surgery will affect normal brain function. Apart from surgery, several alternative treatments are also found to be helpful.
Self-help is considered to be the best Treatment of Epilepsy. When the patients are successful in identifying the triggers of their seizures, they can be able to find ways of avoiding the trigger. Triggers can include lack of sleep, missing meals, alcohol or recreational drugs, flashing or flickering lights such as strobe lighting, stress as well as hormonal changes.
Complementary therapies form another major part of Treatment of Epilepsy. Aromatherapy, acupuncture and reflexology may help to reduce stress and anxiety can trigger epilepsy in some people. Herbal remedies are also seen to put right the condition of epilepsy. Among the alternative treatments, proper diet is also significant. Children suffering from particular forms of epilepsy are recommended a ketogenic diet, which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates. These diets appear to suppress seizures. Patients can also choose Vagus nerve stimulation or VNS. This can reduce seizures as an electrical device implanted in the chest, regularly stimulates a nerve in the neck called the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve then sends signals to areas of the brain. Counselling can also upgrade the condition of epilepsy. Genetic counselling may be appropriate if the type of epilepsy is thought to have a hereditary pattern. Additionally, other alternative methods can include treatment through ayurveda, homeopathy as well as naturopathy.
Treatment of Epilepsy through ayurveda proves to be beneficial. In Ayurveda, epilepsy is termed as Apasmara or apasmaram. The reasons sited by Ayurveda include stressful life, lazy life, poor diet and suppression of natural urges. Epilepsy in most cases is a vata disorder. However, it can also be caused by vitiation of pitta or kapha. Ayurveda suggests rest, normalized diet and specific time of taking food can help persons control epilepsy. Abhayanga or Ayurvedic oil massage, shirodhara (pouring of medicated oil over head), thalam (retaining medicated oil on head) also helps in pacifying mind. Nerve tonic herbs like Aswagandha (Withania somnifera), Brahmi (Bacopa monniera), Jatamamsi (Nardastachys jatamansi), Shanka pushpi (Evolvulus alsinoides) are also used to soothe nervous system and to reduce instances of abnormal brain functioning.
Homeopathic remedies are also considered to be the best alternative treatments of Epilepsy. According to Naturopathy, it is believed that all the diseases arise due to accumulation of morbid matter in the body. It also believes that the human body possesses inherent self constructing and self healing powers. In the natural form of treatment, the sufferer from epilepsy has to follow a rigorous regimen consisting of a strict dietary, complete relaxation and optimum exercise in the open air. He must adhere to a simple and correct natural life by being cheerful, having an optimistic attitude and refrain from mental and physical overwork and worry. If the sufferer from epilepsy has taken strong drugs for many years, he should not leave off entirely all at once. The dosage may be cut to half to begin with and then gradually reduced further until it can be left off completely. An epileptic should strictly observe all the natural laws of good health and build and maintain the highest level of general health. He should remain active mentally but avoid all severe mental and physical stress. And above all, he should avoid excitements of all kinds.
Water therapies also are the best source of treatment. A suggested therapy includes applying mud packs on the abdomen twice-daily. This helps remove toxemic conditions of the intestines and thereby hasten removal extremities. The application of alternate hot and cold compresses to the base of the brain that is at the back of the head will be beneficial. The procedure is to dip the feet in a bucket of hot water and apply first a hot towel and then a cold one to the base of the brain. The alternate hot and cold towels should be kept for two or three minutes about four times. The process should be repeated twice every day. Full Epsom-salt baths, twice a week is also beneficial.