Unfortunately, brain trauma from accidents are a major cause of epilepsy. Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, football games, any of these can be the culprit. And although people can have seizures immediately after injuries, seizures also may occur a week or more later and could mean lasting brain damage. When someone has one episode, it is a seizure. When someone has more than one seizure, it then is referred to as epilepsy.
With lasting damage, it is more likely that seizures recur. Most people can recognize epileptic seizures by uncontrollable body shaking. However, there are symptoms prior to full blown seizures including staring, sudden fatigue, inability to communicate, and being unresponsive to stimuli – an off in another world appearance that may go unnoticed.
For those who experience traumatic brain injury, the chance of having seizures and later epilepsy is higher, as trauma affects both the frontal and temporal lobes. And while MRIs might detect abnormal activity in the brain, these tests generally cannot establish the precise cause which may complicate proving cause and effect in a personal injury case.
Whether this is a life-long impairment depends very much on the amount of damage done to the brain. Doctors try to pinpoint the most likely cause of seizures in order to determine the prognosis. In the event epilepsy becomes a chronic condition, there are medications to control it. Phenobarbital is the most common. But medications such as Gabapentin and Topiramate (also used as pain killers) have frequently been used in recent years.
Generally, after you’ve had even one seizure, you will not be able to drive for at least a time. In addition, after you’ve had a seizure or if you have been diagnosed with epilepsy, you will need to be careful about activities such as climbing ladders and swimming, It is prudent to make sure that you have people around you who know your condition during these activities.
Make sure people around you know what to do and what not to do in the event of a seizure. For example, the old wives’ tale of sticking a spoon in someone’s mouth not only is not true, it also is dangerous. Instead, make sure the person is on the ground, and that there is nothing in his mouth. Check his pulse and make certain he is breathing. And, of course, call 911 immediately