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Triggers

Possible seizure triggers:

 

Medication

 

  • Not taking one’s anti-epileptic medication

 

  • Other medications that are taken in addition to anti-epileptic medication

 

 

 

Internal Factors

 

  • Stress, excitement, and emotional upset

This type of over-stimulation may lower the person’s resistance to seizures by affecting sleeping or eating habits.

 

  • Boredom

Research shows that individuals who are happily occupied are less likely to have a seizure.

 

  • Lack of sleep can change the brain’s patterns of electrical activity and can trigger seizures.

 

  • Fevers may make some children more likely to have a seizure.

 

  • Menstrual cycle

Many women find their seizures increase around this time of their period. This is referred to as catamenial epilepsy and is due to changes in hormone levels, increased fluid retention, and changes in anti-epileptic drug levels in the blood.

 

 

 

External Factors

 

  • Alcohol can affect the rate at which the liver breaks down anti-epileptic medication.

This may decrease the blood levels of anti-epileptic medications, affecting an individual’s seizure control.

 

  • Poor diet

Many seizures take place when blood sugar is low.

 

Stimulants such as tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar, sweets, soft drinks, excess salt, spices, and animal proteins may trigger seizures by suddenly changing the body’s metabolism.

 

Some parents have reported that allergic reactions to certain foods (e.g. white flour) also seem to trigger seizures in their children.

 

Certain nutrient shortages, such as a lack of calcium, have also been found to trigger seizures.

 

  • Very warm weather, hot baths, or showers, especially when there is a sudden change in temperature.

 

  • Television, videos, and flashing lights.

The “strobe effect” from fast scene changes on a bright screen, rapidly changing colours, or fast-moving shadows or patterns can all be trigger seizures.

 

Reprinted in part from Epilepsy Ontario.