The Three Methods of Treatment for Epilepsy
A diagnosis of epilepsy can seem hopeless at first, because as of today there is no cure for the disorder. However, it is a fairly treatable issue, as nearly 70% of cases can be controlled with proper medication.
The first and most successful treatment for epilepsy is medication. There are several medications available for first aid use. These are for when an unexpected seizure occurs and there is a risk for brain and bodily damage.
Other medications are available that are sometimes prescribed for the rest of the patient’s life, or until the seizures have stopped. There are many different anticonvulsants available. They are prescribed based on seizure type and the patient’s age, lifestyle, and other possible medical issues. It sometimes takes a trial of two or three different anticonvulsants before doctors can find the medication and dosage right for the patient’s needs.
Sometimes patients have seizures that always occur in the same part of the brain and the seizures do not seem to stop with medication. These patients may pursue surgery as a way to either stop the seizures or at least reduce their frequency. Brain surgery of any kind is a very serious endeavor, and especially surgeries for epilepsy. So this is a path taken only when there seems to be no other option. In some cases, the removal of a tumor is enough for the brain to return to its normal electrical function. In others, doctors may do some fairly serious alterations to the brain. This may be removing part or all of the hippocampus or cutting the corpus callosum, the bridge between the brain’s two halves.
Recently there has been an increase in the number of patients treated with neurostimulation. In the most successful cases, a small electrode is implanted near the patient’s medulla. This electrode sends new electrical impulses to the vagus nerve, a nerve in the brain that has some control over seizure-related activity.