Frequently Asked Questions

Adolescent Epilepsy

Can other people catch epilepsy from me?

Epilepsy is something that only happens inside your brain and nobody else can catch it. There are no epilepsy germs. If someone else in your family has it, it might be because genes are involved in the kind of epilepsy you have, but neither of you caught it from the other person.

Should I tell my friends about my epilepsy?

It depends on when you have seizures and how you feel about telling your friends. If you might have a seizure while you’re with them, things will go better if they know what to expect and what to do. You can help them to understand that even though you have epilepsy, you’re still a regular person and epilepsy is just a little part of who you are. (So don’t talk about it all the time.) Also if your friends know about your epilepsy, they can help you avoid the unhealthy things that might cause a seizure, like forgetting your pills, drinking a lot of alcohol, or staying up all night. But whether you tell them is really up to you.

I have a job after school. Do I have to tell my boss about my epilepsy? Can my boss fire me if I have a seizure at work?

You are not required by law to tell your employer that you have epilepsy unless your job description includes activities that are dangerous for you (such as climbing ladders or driving). But if there’s any chance that you could have a seizure at work – especially if that would be a danger to you or somebody else – then you should tell. The Epilepsy Foundation of America recommends that you disclose health information after you have been hired, not before, to avoid discrimination.

Women and Epilepsy

What else should I tell the doctor about?

If the incidents occur repeatedly, try to identify associated factors. For example, some women with epilepsy have more frequent episodes at certain times in their menstrual cycle, so you may want to track this kind of relationship on a calendar. Some people try to link their seizures with environmental factors, such as stress, using an antibiotic, or eating too much sugar. Often these associations are just coincidences. Keep careful records of when the possible factor occurs in relation to the time and frequency of your seizures. And remember that even if the factor and your seizures turn out to be associated, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the factor is causing the seizures.