A central nervous disorder, epilepsy is a condition where the nerve cell activity causes periods of sensations, unusual activities and in some instances, the loss of consciousness. Although epilepsy can be seen in children who do not have medical problems, it’s common among children with other development disabilities. As a matter of fact, research has shown over 30% of children suffering from epilepsy have these other developmental issues. Generally, there is a high risk of a child with developmental disabilities to experience epilepsy by the time they reach five-years-old.
Some children may outgrow epilepsy as they age and epilepsy symptoms vanish. According to research, if your child has used medications there is a 40% chance they will be free from epilepsy symptoms. However, these chances are lower for children with head injuries at birth. Some of the risk factors or causes of epilepsy that can lead to seizures include seizures at birth, cerebral palsy, mental retardedness, premature birth, autism, and febrile seizures. All of these causes of epilepsy can contribute to seizures in your child. If neither mental retardedness nor cerebral palsy is present, the risk is not so much different from other children.
Most epilepsy symptoms overlap between psychiatric and developmental problems. Thankfully, there are several treatment options that you can always use to handle this, but before opting for these drugs, make sure that your child is examined by a psychiatrist or epileptologist.
Although there are many types of seizures that children can experience, the most common is called grand mal seizure. Some children may also have a partial seizure that can either be simple or complex. Many parents have asked whether it’s common for their child to have a long seizure. According to research, children with neurological disabilities and younger children have higher risks of experiencing longer seizures as compared to others.
If your child normally experiences a long seizure during epileptic attacks, see your doctor to ascertain whether they are using the correct combination of medicine. There are several drugs that you can comfortably give at home to reduce longer seizures. If a seizure still seems to take longer than expected, seek emergency help as the causes of epilepsy might be abnormal.
Developmental Disabilities and Depression
Children with developmental disabilities sometimes become depressed. In fact, studies have shown that depression is three times more prevalent among those with epilepsy. You need to ensure that your child is thoroughly examined by a professional to decipher whether they need specific types of treatment or not.
If your child has been seizure free for two years, most health care providers will want to take them off drug treatment. In fact, some children with disabilities have been taken off these drugs to much success. According to one study, over 50% of children with disabilities were able to survive without seizure drugs and had no serious side effects. Be sure, however, to consult a specialist before making a decision.
Goals for Children with Epilepsy
The main goal for any child with epilepsy would, of course, be complete seizure management and no adverse effects from drugs. Reasonable goals may include limiting the number of drugs, controlling seizures, avoiding injuries from seizures, and giving your child the best quality of life they can have while dealing with epilepsy symptoms. If you believe your child has not reached stages such as this, be sure an epileptologist examines them regularly and helps you put a goal plan together.
Aside from drugs, ketogenic diet and the vagus nerve stimulator have both been used on children suffering from epilepsy with a good amount of success. The vagus nerve stimulator is a device put into the child’s shoulder or neck area which sends an electric pulse to the nerve which then helps to stimulate the brain. Together with other antiepileptic medication, it is used to control the seizures. If you feel that these procedures may be helpful in managing epilepsy symptoms, contact your healthcare provider to decide what the best option would be to take.