Emotional First Aid and Epilepsy

Despite being one of the most common neurological conditions, epilepsy is misunderstood, with many people still having inaccurate information, misconceptions and outdated views about epilepsy, leading to increased stigma.

It has also been found that, for many people living with epilepsy, it is the emotional, social, and psychological stresses of epilepsy – not just the challenges of seizure control – that leave the deepest scars. In fact, some people living with epilepsy may also suffer from mental health issues due to a negative response to their epilepsy and may even keep their condition a secret, feel isolated from others or feel ostracized by society.

This brings us to the importance of emotional first aid for people living with epilepsy, which is just as important as first aid for seizures. Emotional first aid builds resilience to help people in the aftermath of a traumatic incident, such as people living with epilepsy after a seizure.

It is also especially important to discuss emotional first aid because people living with epilepsy may experience significant distress that can impede their emotional, social and psychological recovery. Emotional first aid can help combat this and also provide the support, care and calmness needed to help decrease feelings of helplessness.

Here are the steps for emotional first aid:

  1. Foster a safe environment for the individual
  2. Provide the individual with a calm environment
  3. Induce a sense of self-efficacy
  4. Induce a sense of connectedness
  5. Induce a sense of hope

Keep in mind that just like physical wounds from seizures, emotional wounds from seizures need to heal and can be healed. The support you give someone living with epilepsy through emotional first aid is invaluable in helping them cope with their condition. It is important to utilize emotional first aid to combat the stigma associated with epilepsy and allow people living with epilepsy to live full, positive lives.

Here are some ways that you can help:

  • Simply ask the question “What can I do to help?”
  • Be patient, understanding and accepting
  • Encourage the person to talk about their feelings
  • Reassure the person and let them know that their epilepsy does not define them

We hope that this information on emotional first aid and epilepsy is helpful for you!

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