You'll likely start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner, then you'll likely be referred to a doctor who specializes in nervous system disorders (neurologist).
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
- Write down symptoms you or your child has had, including those that may seem unrelated to seizures. Note the kinds of seizures. For example, do some affect the left side of the body more than the right or vice versa? Do some affect speech and others not?
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you or your child is taking and the dosages. Write down the reasons — whether side effects or lack of effectiveness — you stopped taking any.
- Ask a family member to accompany you to help you remember what you're told during your appointment. Also, since memory loss can happen during seizures, an observer may be able to describe the seizures better than you can.
- Have a family member or friend video record the seizure with a cellphone or other video recorder, if possible.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. For temporal lobe seizure, some questions to ask include:
- Is the diagnosis epilepsy?
- Will more seizures occur? Will different types of seizures occur?
- What tests are needed? Do these tests require special preparation?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- Is surgery a possibility?
- Should I restrict activities? What safety issues do I face?
- Is my condition potentially fatal? How do I minimize the risks caused by my condition?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Do you have brochures or other printed materials I can take? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
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- When did you or your child begin having symptoms?
- Did you notice any unusual sensations before the seizures?
- How often do seizures occur?
- Can you describe a typical seizure?
- How long do the seizures last?
- Do the seizures occur in clusters?
- Do they all look the same or are there different seizure behaviors you or others have seen?
- Does your or your child's head or body turn in one direction during a seizure?
- Does the seizure affect speech during its early phase?
- Have you or your child been injured during a seizure?
- How would you describe you or your child right after the seizure?
- What medications have you or your child tried? What doses were used?
- Have you tried combining medication?
- Have you noticed seizure triggers, such as sleep deprivation or illness?
- Temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy Foundation. http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/types-epilepsy-syndromes/temporal-lobe-epilepsy. Accessed April 9, 2014.
- Benbadis SR. Localization-related (partial) epilepsy: Causes and clinical features. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 9, 2014.
- Seizures and epilepsy: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/epilepsy/detail_epilepsy.htm?css=print. Accessed April 9, 2014.
- Schachter SC. Surgical therapy of epilepsy in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 9, 2014.
- Tzatha E, et al. Responsive neurostimulation for the treatment of seizures that do not respond to medication. Neurology 2011;77:e79.
- FDA approves responsive stimulation therapy by Neuropace. Epilepsy Foundation. http://www.epilepsy.com/release/2014/3/fda-approves-responsive-neurostimulation-therapy-neuropace. Accessed April 23, 2014.
- Calpern CH, et al. Deep brain stimulation for epilepsy. Neurotherapeutics. 2008;5:59.