If you have epilepsy, the relationship you have with your doctor is incredibly important. Studies have shown that when people have a good relationship with their doctor they have better health outcomes, fewer symptoms, and a higher quality of life. Finding a specialist who you trust, and who understands you, is very helpful when managing your seizures.
So how do you go about finding an epileptologist near you?
How to find doctors who specialize in epilepsy
Finding an epilepsy doctor can be complicated – it’s not as simple as searching for a plumber or an electrician online! Still, if you're looking to find doctors who specialize in epilepsy, the following tips help you with your search.
1. Work out what kind of doctor you need
There are different kinds of doctors who can treat epilepsy. For most people, the first step is to visit their general practitioner (your family doctor). If they think you might have epilepsy, they will usually refer you on to a neurologist (a doctor who specializes in brain disorders).
Neurologists can provide general care for some people with epilepsy and can prescribe medication to help treat seizures. But, if your seizures are not controlled by medication and you have tried two or more anti-seizure drugs without your seizures stopping, it might be worth visiting a comprehensive epilepsy center. These are hospitals where the top epilepsy doctors in the US work. They have cutting edge technologies and can do the most advanced tests to understand your seizures.
You can find an epilepsy center near you here.
Keep learning: Everything you need to know about epileptologists
2. Think about location
Location is certainly an important factor when choosing doctors who specialize in epilepsy. You would, for example, want to visit an Orlando epilepsy center if you lived in Florida or an Austin epilepsy care center if you lived in Texas. That being said, it is not absolutely vital to live in the same city as your epilepsy doctor. You may only need to visit once or twice per year, so as long as it’s easy to travel to, finding a comprehensive epilepsy center in the same state is usually fine.
3. Use online resources to find doctors
Whether you choose to work with an epileptologist or a neurologist, there are several online resources where you can find epileptologists near you . These include:
4. Narrow down your choices according to your situation
Once you have put together a list of doctors, you will want to consider other factors to narrow down your search, including:
- Your insurance – you can check your insurer’s directory to find doctors included in your cover
- The doctor’s hospital affiliation
- Educational background and epilepsy expertise (you can check this at Certification Matters)
- If they have any special interests (for example, if they do research into your kind of seizures)
- The languages the doctor can speak
5. Make your first appointment
Now you have narrowed down your list of doctors, make your first appointment. It can be handy to bring along your medical records, your list of medications and any information about your seizures.
6. Decide if they are right for you
After your first appointment, you will hopefully have a good feeling about your new epilepsy doctor. However, if you don’t feel they’re the right fit, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion and try working with someone else. Your relationship with your epilepsy specialist could potentially last several years, so you want to be sure they’re the right one for you.
After your first appointment, ask yourself if the doctor explained things clearly, if they seemed to care about you, and if they appeared to understand you. Sometimes it can just be about your gut feeling – did you like them and do you feel you can trust them? Hopefully you’ll meet a great doctor first time. But if not, it’s worth trying a couple more.
Finding epileptologists near you
The relationship you have with your epilepsy doctor can be really important for how your seizures are treated and managed. By taking the time to seek out doctors who specialize in epilepsy and making sure they’re a right fit for you, you can feel more confident in your relationship with them, and the care you will receive.