3 Things Your Teen Should Know About Epilepsy

Navigating the world between childhood and adulthood is hard enough, but for teens diagnosed with pediatric epilepsy, some of those challenges can take on a new dimension.

1. Getting Plenty of Sleep

One thing often noted in pediatric epilepsy is that seizures are very sensitive to sleep patterns. In some cases, children experience their first seizure the day after having a night of sleep interrupted due to sickness or another event. Lack of sleep can also increase the intensity and length of seizures. Staying up all night studying carries an additional significance when it can put your teen at risk for a seizure.

2. Getting a Driver’s License

People with epilepsy are able to receive a driver’s license in all 50 states, but must be seizure-free for a period of time before receiving their license. The time period varies from state to state. It’s also necessary in most states to have a pediatric neurologist certify that your teen has been seizure-free for at least 1 to 2 years.

While all forms of epilepsy are prone to sleep problems, some are especially sensitive to a lack of sleep or disruptions in a teen’s sleep schedule.

3. Living Clean

Part of being a teen is experimenting, and that can sometimes lead to interactions with alcohol or other drugs. Taking drugs isn’t a good choice for any teenager, but it is especially bad for a teen with pediatric epilepsy.

Because of their effects on the brain, these foreign substances can also sometimes directly trigger a seizure. Even later, alcohol and other drugs can result in seizures due to their disruption of a teen’s sleep and dehydration.

Anti-epileptic drugs can also increase the effects of alcohol. Make sure your epileptic teen understands the additional medical consequences they face to help keep them safe.