Veterans and Epilepsy
What is the ECoE?
The VA founded the Epilepsy Centers of Excellence (ECoE), establishing 16 sites that are linked to form 4 regional centers. The ECoE seek to provide the best possible epilepsy care to Veterans throughout the United States with state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic services.
The VA Epilepsy Centers of Excellence (ECoE) video series “Veterans and Epilepsy: Basic Training” addresses the stigma of epilepsy and educates Veterans, their caregivers, and the general public about living with epilepsy. Each video in the series features a Veteran sharing his or her personal experiences and unique challenges balancing the medical, personal and social aspects associated with having recurring seizures. The goal of the video series is to promote public awareness of the impact of epilepsy in the lives of Veterans and to convey that these patients are able to live full, productive, successful lives.
Please watch these videos to learn more:
Epilepsy and Basic Training – Traumatic Brain Injury
This program explains the link between Traumatic Brain Injury and epilepsy and the complicated struggle to deal with epilepsy while simultaneously trying to recover from traumatic brain and other injuries. From the Veterans and Health Administration Youtube page.
Veterans and Epilepsy: Basic Training: Diagnosis
This program explains how epilepsy is diagnosed. In most cases, a person who has repeated seizures will visit a doctor called a neurologist. The neurologist will conduct a thorough history and a neurological exam and may order tests — such as an MRI or an EEG — to help him or her make a diagnosis. In some cases, people need further study in a specialized part of the hospital called the epilepsy monitoring unit.
Veterans and Epilepsy: Basic Training: Psychosocial Issues
This program describes the various psychosocial issues that sometimes accompany epilepsy. People with uncontrolled seizures may not be able to drive. They may not be able to hold the jobs that they want. They may feel a profound sense of loss. They may be depressed. They may feel isolated. This program explains that such feelings are normal, that treatment is available, and that things usually get better.
Veterans and Epilepsy: Basic Training: Psychogenic NonEpileptic Seizures
This video covers Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures or PNES. PNES resembles epilepsy — the seizures can look very much like epileptic seizures – but it is caused by psychological issues, rather than abnormal electrical impulses in the brain.
Veterans and Epilepsy: Basic Training: Medications
This program describes the various medications that can be used to treat epilepsy. It includes an explanation of how the drugs work, how effective they are, and how clinicians decide which medications to use for a particular patient. It also discusses common and serious side effects, the importance of taking anti-epileptic medications as prescribed, and strategies to help patients take their medicines when and how they should.
Veterans and Epilepsy: Basic Training: Surgical Interventions
Medications are very effective in controlling seizures for most people with epilepsy. If medications don’t work, it may be possible to control a person’s seizures by removing a small part of the brain from which his or her seizures originate.