top of page

Families With Epilepsy

Cleveland Monsters 2019.jpg

What do you need to know when a family member is diagnosed with Epilepsy?

Families are so important in the lives of people with epilepsy. After being diagnosed with epilepsy, the person with epilepsy loses a great amount of independence. People with epilepsy will need their family members to help when they have a seizure, take them places, and help figure out how to navigate their lives in a new way due to their diagnosis.


When a family member is diagnosed with epilepsy, there are many unanswered questions.

  • What are seizures?

  • What do I do when a family member has a seizure?

  • Does the medication stop the seizures?

  • My family member is very forgetful now. Is this normal?

  • How do we explain epilepsy to family members and other important people in our lives?

  • What is an EEG? Why do we need it? What if they don’t see any seizures?


Empowering Epilepsy will help you navigate through these difficult times. You can do this, and we can help.

What are seizures?

A seizure is a sudden, abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The nerves in your brain tell your body to do different things. When a seizure takes place, your body loses control as a result. Not all seizures look the same. There are over 40 different types of seizures and syndromes. Not all seizures are the ones you see on TV – Generalized Tonic Clonic Seizures, formerly known as Grand Mal Seizures, where a person falls to the floor and shakes uncontrollably. Some seizures are easy to see, while others are very subtle, so you may not even be able to tell that a seizure has taken place. Seizures are first classified into 3 seizure categories: Focal Onset Seizures, which start in one specific area of the brain. Generalized Onset Seizures which can start in any area of the brain. Unknown Onset Seizures, when doctors cannot identify where the seizures are starting based on an EEG, they are given this classification. Check out our Types of Seizures Page for more information. What happens to you or your loved one when a seizure takes place is usually determined by where in the brain the seizure is occurring. That is why, once you have made sure that the person is safe during the seizure, you should take out your phone and video the seizure. The video can show the epileptologist what is happening in the brain when a seizure takes place. This provides clues to them as to where the seizures could be coming from, and what they need to do to help lessen the seizures.

What do I do when a family member has a seizure?

Check out our First Aid For Seizure page. Please note that different seizures require different First Aid Treatments.

Does the medication stop the seizures?

Seizure medications do not cure the seizures, but they can help reduce the amount of seizures you experience, or for some, stop them all together. For others, the medications do not stop the seizures. What you need to understand is that different drugs work differently for different people.

My family member is very forgetful now, is this normal?

The goal of the medications is to slow down the central nervous system. As a result, our memory can be affected – especially for those with focal seizures that start in the left or right temporal lobe. The temporal lobe is associated with memory, so memory loss can be a symptom. People with epilepsy need to know that it is not their fault. This is something they can’t control, but with the cell phone craze, they can use that as a way to remind them of a variety of things like taking their medicine at a specific time, or completing a daily task.

How do we explain epilepsy to family members and other important people in our lives?

Knowledge is power, so the best way to explain the seizures is to use the information above to explain it.


Donate to Help Us
Change the Conversation About Epilepsy!

Here are some ways you can donate:

In Person

Empowering Epilepsy Headquarters

23500 Mercantile Road, Suite D
Beachwood, OH 44122


Make a tax deductible donation‏.

Over the Phone

It's easy to donate offline too.

Tel: 216-342-4167

bottom of page