Lionel Carmant: Hi! I am Lionel Carmant from the International League Against Epilepsy. And today we are talking about caregivers for patients with epilepsy. When someone is diagnosed with epilepsy, one question that often comes up is what kind of doctor should I see? Ideally a neurologist and specially one, who has expertise in epilepsy, should be involved early on. But in most cases such physicians are not always easy to find. In general, the majority of people with epilepsy have seizures that are easy to control with medications, and there is no reason to see an epilepsy specialist if everything is going well.
Because there is no best epilepsy treatment, the medicine that stops the seizures and doesn't cause side effects is the right choice. As long as everything is going well, visits to the physicians are routine to make sure that no problems have risen, and to answer any question about epilepsy in your treatment that you may have.
However, if things aren't going well, you should see an epilepsy specialist sooner rather than later. One of the reasons to see a specialist is if the seizures continue after you have tried several medications. Although, the effect that you are still having seizures, probably means that your seizures may be more difficult to control. It is also possible that your symptoms are not epileptic seizures, and that other kinds of treatments are needed. Another reason to see an epilepsy specialist is if you or family members feel that the medicines are causing problems in your mood, behavior or overall quality of life. Often problems in these areas are hard to define, so the simple way to look at this issue is see a specialist if you think that life has not been going well since you started your medicine.
The treatment may be alternative treatments that can fix these problems. One situation in which it is important to see a specialist sooner rather than later, is for seizures that begins in infancy or early childhood. Seizures at this age can be the first sign of a serious brain disorder that requires early treatment. For some types of epilepsy early treatment makes a big difference in how well the child will do in years to come.
So although most seizures types are easily treated and don't require specialized care, if things don't go well or if it is your young child who is having seizures, see an epilepsy specialist at an Epilepsy Center, sooner rather than later.