Dealing with tiredness in epilepsy

Tiredness can be one of the most frustrating symptoms of epilepsy, and is a key factor in why some people choose to stop taking their prescribed anti-epileptic drugs. There are several reasons why people with epilepsy often experience excessive fatigue…


Stress and anxiety

Particularly if you’re living with epilepsy that is difficult to manage, stress and anxiety could be a major factor in your tiredness.

The uncertainty that many people feel about when the next seizure is going to come can cause symptoms of anxiety such as racing thoughts, heart palpitations and even panic attacks. This naturally leads you to feel tired, which in turn can make epileptic symptoms worse.


How can I address this?


You might also want to consider techniques such as mindfulness, which help you relax, or to think about if your anxiety is linked to your lifestyle as well as your epilepsy.

For example, simple changes such as cutting down your alcohol and caffeine consumption can have a significant impact on how tired you feel.

If you feel that anxiety is having a significant impact on your day-to-day life, including on your tiredness, you should speak to your GP.

They will be able to recommend the best course of action.

This may include ‘talking therapy’ such as CBT, medications such as anti-depressants, or a combination of the two.


Aanti epileptic drugsEDs

Up to 70% of people with epilepsy could be seizure-free with the right choice of anti-epileptic drugs.

However, these medications can sometimes have quite significant side effects, and one of the most frequently reported is tiredness.


How can I address this?

If you’ve noticed a significant change in your energy levels after starting taking an anti-epileptic drug, the best thing to do is to speak to your GP.

Don’t stop taking your medication or change your dosage without consulting a professional first, even if you think it’s the best thing to do.

The doctors are there to help you and will listen to your concerns.

There’s a wide range of anti-epileptic drugs available, and each person reacts differently to each drug.

It may take a while, but hopefully you will find a treatment that works for you.


Post-seizure fatigue


Many people experience severe tiredness after a seizure. This can be particularly disruptive to your day-to-day life, particularly if you regularly have seizures during the day.


How can I address this?

Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to deal with post-seizure fatigue is to sleep. Having a seizure can be very taxing on your body and naturally make you tired.


General tips

Keeping to a routine is greatly important, no matter how difficult it might be sometimes.

Also, try and avoid daytime napping unless absolutely necessary. If your body gets used to napping in the day, it can be hard to do without. This can make symptoms of tiredness worse.

If you need help or support with any aspect of your epilepsy, charities such as the Epilepsy Society and Epilepsy Action offer a wide range of resources.

We hope this advice has been helpful. If you have any tips on dealing with tiredness, please leave a comment below…

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