What type of doctor should I see if I think I’m having seizures?

Since symptoms of seizures can easily be confused with other medical and neurological problems, it's important to see your general doctor first to check your overall health and all possible causes of your symptoms. If seizures are suspected, a neurologist should be seen to diagnose the problem and recommend treatment.

Take notes of your history and descriptions of the events or seizures to all appointments. Include details of what happens during an event, when it occurs, how long it lasts, and if any specific triggers or patterns were present. Your doctor will want to review this information, learn more about your medical history, and ask for testing.

What type of doctor should I see if my seizures aren’t controlled?

If seizures continue despite treatment, or if someone is having bothersome side effects of treatment, neurologists who specialize in treating epilepsy should be consulted. These doctors, called epileptologists, may recommend more testing to answer these questions:

  • Is the diagnosis correct?
  • What type of seizures are they?
  • What is causing the seizures?
  • Are there other medicines that would work better?
  • Are there other treatments, such as surgery, dietary therapy, or devices that could help control seizures?

Where can I find an epilepsy specialist? Are there other types of health care professionals who can help?

Some epilepsy doctors (epileptologists) may be in private practice, while others may work in groups. You may be referred to many different health care professionals along the way, depending on how the seizures are affecting your life and where you receive your care.

A Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is a group of professionals, led by an epileptologist, who are focused on treating people with seizures and epilepsy. The center should include other health care professionals who can help diagnose and treat specific problems you may be having, offer non-drug treatments; help you learn about your epilepsy and treatment, and cope with how epilepsy affects you and your family.

Professionals found at epilepsy centers may include: epilepsy nurses, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, pharmacists, dieticians, and neurosurgeons in addition to their epileptologist.

To find an epilepsy doctor or other people involved in epilepsy care:
Find an Epilepsy Doctor or Professional

To find an epilepsy center:
Find an Epilepsy Center
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How do I keep track of who is involved in my care?

To help you keep track of who you are seeing and why, download the following form and visit the Toolbox section of this website for additional communication tools and forms.

My Healthcare Contacts

Use this to help you organize your health care team and let others know who you are seeing as well. Your health care team may include organizations or professionals in the community, in addition to medical personnel - whoever helps you and your family.

For more information:

 

Authored by: Steven C. Schachter, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN | Joseph I. Sirven, MD on 8/2013
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 3/2014
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