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Epilepsy – Consequences of Stress

November 17, 2021


Stress has physical, emotional, and neurological consequences, but stress is really hard to measure and quantify. It’s the person’s subjective response to the experiences they’re having. To paraphrase Hans Selye – the first scientist to identify stress as a cause of illness – it’s not the stress that kills you, it’s your reaction to it. Acute stress is a normal response that has significant benefits, especially when it comes to survival. We are perfectly built to deal with short-term stress. The human anatomy and brain have adapted to take advantage of it. It’s chronic stress that often becomes a problem. Chronic stress weakens the entire body and causes physiological instructional changes in the brain. It’s long been known that stress is a trigger for epilepsy. Acute stress triggers seizures and chronic stress increases seizure frequency. The brain is particularly sensitive to things that cause oxidative stress – the increased free radicals causes neurons to become hyperexcitable and therefore increases seizure frequency. The neurological effects of stress on the brain can be devastating and worsen someone’s epilepsy. Here are 10 ways to help your patients minimize their stress: 1. Have them recognize the stressors in their life. 2. Have them reevaluate the life that they currently live. 3. Have them commit to making the necessary changes. 4. Have them exercise regularly. 5. Have them eat healthy. 6. They should abstain from alcohol consumption or cigarette smoking or diets that are high in processed foods. 7. They need to make sure that they’re getting enough sleep. 8. They need to live in the present moment. 9. They need to not be so hard on themselves. 10. They need to enjoy life.

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