Epilepsy - What Happens
Concerns about mental health or intelligence continued...
epilepsy is often a lifelong (chronic) disease, it can be hard to understand
how much your life will change. Some people may have feelings of despair,
depression, or anxiety after hearing that they have epilepsy. In some studies,
adults with epilepsy had a higher risk of suicide, especially if they had also
been diagnosed with depression or another mental illness, and especially within
6 months of being diagnosed with epilepsy.1 For more information on depression, see the topic Depression.
If you or another adult friend or family member was just diagnosed with
epilepsy or just started a new treatment for epilepsy, you may want to watch for suicidal thoughts or threats. For more
information on what to watch for, see the topic
Suicidal Thoughts or Threats.
Complications of seizures
themselves usually cause no harm—the danger lies in where you are or what you
are doing when the seizure occurs. There is always a risk of head injury,
broken bones, and other injuries from falling or from drowning if you are swimming
or bathing at the time of the seizure. It can be dangerous to be operating
driving when you have a seizure. You cannot
swallow your tongue during seizures. But you can choke on food, vomit, or an object
in your mouth.
Some seizures may place temporary but severe stress
on the body and cause problems with the muscles, lungs, or heart. Choking, an
abnormal heartbeat, or other problems may cause sudden
death, though this is rare. Untreated seizures that become more severe or
frequent may lead to these problems. One of the most dangerous complications of
epilepsy is a prolonged seizure condition that can result in brain damage or