Complications and Risks

Some health problems or symptoms happen more often in people with seizures than in people without seizures. We can help you understand the impact of these complications and risks.

People with epilepsy may experience health problems other than seizures. These problems could relate to the seizures, or they could be due to whatever is causing the epilepsy. For example, you may experience mood problems, changes related to seizure timing or side effects of medicines. Others may experience issues with sleeping, thinking and memory, or socializing with others. In rare instances, early death or SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy) can occur.

Recognizing when any of these challenges happen can help you and your health care team figure out how to treat them. 

Moods and Behavior

Studies have shown a link between epilepsy and mood disorders. This means epilepsy and its treatment may affect the way that you think and behave. It can also affect how people respond and behave toward you.

Learn how epilepsy can impact moods and behavior

Early Death & SUDEP

Most people with epilepsy live a full and healthy life. In rare cases, unexpected death may occur in epilepsy patients.

Learn more about early death and SUDEP

Seizure Emergencies

Some people may have seizures that are easy to control, while others may experience more serious seizures that can result in emergency situations.

Learn about the different types of seizure emergencies

Sleep Issues

A good night’s sleep plays a key role in your overall well-being. Several studies confirmed that sleep issues and disorders are common in people with epilepsy. Poor sleep quality may also result in a higher frequency of seizures.

Learn about the connection between sleep and epilepsy

Social Concerns

Coping with epilepsy is different for everyone. Concerns may arise for how seizures may affect your family life, relationships, school, work, or recreation.

Learn about social concerns related to epilepsy

Thinking & Memory

People with epilepsy commonly report having problems with their thinking and memory. These difficulties can hinder your functioning at work, in school, and at home.

Learn more about common memory problems linked to epilepsy

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Data suggests epilepsy does not increase the risk of getting COVID-19 or the severity of having COVID-19. However, some people with other health conditions related to epilepsy may have a higher risk of getting COVID-19. You can take certain precautions to reduce this risk.

Learn about the risks of COVID-19 and epilepsy

Bone Health

People with epilepsy are at higher risk for developing bone issues such as osteoporosis and fractures. Proper exercise and nutrition can help you decrease the risk of these issues.

Learn how epilepsy medication can affect bone health

What Else Can You Do If You Experience Complications From Epilepsy?

    Research & Track Your Symptoms
    • If you don’t know much about your family history, sit down with your family, and ask questions! A good family health history is important for everyone to have.
    • If you notice other health problems or changes in your mood, thinking, or behavior, track the symptoms in your seizure diary. Note if the symptoms occur near a seizure or after you take medicine.
    • Take a copy of your seizure diary and this information to all epilepsy visits.
    Talk to Your Doctor
    • Schedule an appointment to address how epilepsy impacts you and what your risks may be.
    • Talk to your doctor about what you have noticed. They may recommend some testing or want to watch things for a while.
    Connect With Others

    Find local Epilepsy Foundation resources near you and learn more about the impact of epilepsy.

    Related Resources

    Seizure Medication List

    In-depth information on epilepsy medications to help you choose the right one.

    Epilepsy Device Wiki

    Explore our searchable catalog of devices and apps developed for epilepsy.

    Find a Clinical Trial

    Find ongoing epilepsy clinical trials that you can consider.

    My Seizure Diary

    My Seizure Diary helps you record, track, and manage your seizures and epilepsy.

    Kids Making a Difference – Christopher’s Story

    Christopher was diagnosed with complex partial seizures when he was five. He is now 12 years old and like many kids his age, loves Minecraft, Legos, and building things. Christopher has always been open about his epilepsy and likes to educate everyone he meets.

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    Find an Epilepsy Specialist

    Ready for help? An epilepsy specialist can help guide you through the various complications and risks associated with epilepsy.