When a person is diagnosed with epilepsy, the first thing they often ask is “can it be cured?”. It’s a completely natural reaction after receiving news that is possibly life changing to hope that there is a cure and life can continue as normal. However, at present there is no medical cure for epilepsy.
For many, this may be worrying news, but it’s important to note that just because there isn’t a cure for epilepsy does not mean that there are not any effective treatments. Many people with epilepsy are able to lead full lives that are in many cases are completely seizure free.
For some people it is possible to grow out of epilepsy. For example, with some epilepsy syndromes.
The optimal outcome for many people with epilepsy is to manage seizures and reduce their frequency through treatment options. In some people, seizures can be completely managed, also known as being seizure-free/seizure-freedom. In fact, approximately 70% of people with epilepsy can control their seizures through the available treatment options.
There are a variety of treatment options available to a person with epilepsy, including:
By far the most common treatment is with the use of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) will often be the first choice presented to a person with epilepsy. There are a wide range of AEDs available, and with the help of a healthcare professional many people find the appropriate medication and dosage to control their seizures. It’s important to adhere to the recommended dosage and frequency as directed by a healthcare professional to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Brain surgery is an option for some people. With advances in technology there are becoming more surgical treatments available. This is something that your neurologist may consider referring you for in order to have an assessment for suitability. This can be a lengthy process.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is a surgical procedure that places a small device under the skin in the chest (under the left clavicle), similar to a pacemaker. This device connects to the vagal nerves in the neck and sends electrical impulses that may help to control seizures.
The ketogenic diet is a diet that is high in fats and low in carbohydrates and protein. The diet requires the expertise of a specialist dietician and is mainly recommended for children.