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Epilepsy Self-Management

Managing a condition like epilepsy can be complex and frustrating. Sometimes, seizures make it hard to work, go to school, drive, and take part in social activities. Sometimes epilepsy treatment makes these activities harder, too.  Self-management skills can help people take control of their health and cope with their day-to-day challenges.

Self-management does not mean that people manage their health alone.  Self-management requires an active partnership between a person with epilepsy, their family or friends, and the health care provider.  Each one plays an important role in epilepsy self-management:

I have epilepsy. What does self-management mean for me?

Self-management is what you do to take care of yourself. You can learn how to manage your epilepsy and have an active and full life.

Begin with these tips:

  • Take your medication as prescribed.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider when you have questions.
  • Recognize and avoid seizure triggers (such as stress), when possible.
  • Keep a record of your seizures and look for patterns, so you can talk about them with your doctor.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise safely.
  • Lower stress.
  • Keep in touch with friends, family, and other people that can help you.

I provide care to people with epilepsy. How can I help people practice self-management?

Medical treatment alone may not always give your patients the relief they’re looking for, or they may have trouble following treatment recommendations. 

Self-management programs help participants learn more about their condition and teach them proven skills to improve their ability to manage their health.  Self-management programs can help participants:

  • Follow their medication schedule.
  • Reduce their stress or depressive symptoms.
  • Help better communicate with health care providers.

Participants set goals, develop action plans, and learn skills to manage their condition using structured planning and feedback exercises.

A person is much more likely to participate in self-management programs with a recommendation from their healthcare team.

  • Encourage your patients to participate in epilepsy self-management programs.
  • Consider implementing an evidence-based self-management program in your community.
  • Learn about available evidence-based MEW self-management programs.

The CDC Epilepsy Program and the Epilepsy Foundation  also have helpful self-management resources for people with epilepsy and their caregivers.



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