Nearly 9 out of 10 people living with epilepsy have at least one trigger that can potentially cause a seizure. Knowing and managing your triggers may help keep seizures under control.
Stress comes in different forms and has a different meaning for everyone. It can come from a major life event or from more everyday activities that can potentially put us in a bad mood.
There is no clear understanding as to why stress may trigger a seizure. Studies show that when the body experiences stress a seizure could occur. Stress generates certain hormones related to the nervous system that can impact the brain.
Stress is one of the most common
While stress alone, can cause seizures, it can also bring about a lack of sleep which is another well-known seizure trigger. Anxiety or depression can also create stress and, in turn, cause seizures.
While there is no conclusive evidence that reducing stress will reduce seizures, a recent study showed that nearly 9 in 10 people who actively managed their stress believed it reduced their risk of seizures.
A new clinical trial in stress management (SMILE study) hopes to prove that stress reduction will help limit seizures. If proven, this trial will open the door for new therapies that in combination with epilepsy medications will help make significant change in seizure management.
Stress is an expected and unavoidable part of life. It is our body's reaction to any change that requires a physical and emotional response. Stress is known to cause worry, depression, frustration and even anger.
The first step to managing stress is identifying what in your life is likely to cause stress. In some cases you can avoid stress. In other cases, you can work to minimize the impact of stress.
Managing stress is very personal and specific to your situation; however, there are some universal activities and recommendations.
A unique clinical trial, called the Stress Management Intervention for Living with Epilepsy (SMILE) study, will see if stress reduction lowers the number of seizures in people with medication-resistant epilepsy. Eligible participants need to average at least two seizures per month.
In the first phase of the trial, volunteers will use modern smart phone technology to record stress. In the second phase, participants will be taught to apply stress reduction techniques on a regular basis plus when stress or seizure risk is high.
This research is taking place at the University of Cincinnati, University of California San Francisco and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, NY. Visit http://www.shorfoundation.org/SMILE.html for more information about the study. If you are interested in participating in the study, contact information for the researchers is available here.
Created by Dr. Michael Privitera and Dr. Sheryl Haut, 6/24/13
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