Dr. Jim Wheless, pediatric neurologist with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, talks to teens about epilepsy.
In this video, Dr. Orrin Devinsky from NYU Epilepsy Center talks to teens about daring to take control of their epilepsy.
Adolescence is the passage from childhood to adulthood. It is surrounded by issues of rebellion, independence, heightened self-consciousness, experimentation, dating, driving, and concerns for the future. Teens and their parents share the highs and lows of this often-stormy period, and communication between them is essential to temper the turbulence. This is a challenge for both parents and children, as adolescence, almost by definition, brings parents and children into conflict. The intense emotions and feelings of the teen years are both positive and negative: parents are both heroes and villains, best friends and "police officers," and the source of great affection and great frustration. The boundaries of the child's independence, which were tested in early childhood, are re-tested in adolescence.
The tidal waves of emotions on which teens often ride or by which they are consumed affect those around them. Emotions are infectious. All parents need to navigate this difficult time.
Adolescence does not need any complicating factors, but epilepsy is just that. In a time of life marked by continuous adjustments to dramatic physical, mental, and social changes. Consider.....
Caring for teens with epilepsy requires special patience and understanding. For children entering their teens with good self-esteem and a sense of independence, the impact of epilepsy can be minimal. But epilepsy can aggravate or create problems of low self-esteem, dependency, mood or behavioral difficulties in adolescents. Sometimes, well-meaning parents may be overprotective and hesitate to encourage their teens to take responsibility for their own care. However, for teens to make a successful transition into adulthood, they need to tackle issues such as...
Children whose intelligence is at least near average and whose epilepsy is well controlled are able to achieve independence during adolescence and adulthood. Children with more severe physical and mental problems confront a different situation as they mature. Parents of teens who cannot achieve independence in the community must begin to explore the options for their future living arrangements, employment possibilities, legal and financial security, and social and sexual adjustments.
If you or someone you know has a teenager with epilepsy you don't have to struggle alone. There are several resources available to assist you in handling the various aspects of caring for a teen with epilepsy. One such resource is the You Are Not Alone Toolkit-for Parents of Teens With Epilepsy developed by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the Epilepsy Foundation. More links to information about epilepsy.