September 1, 2020

What are some common seizure triggers?

About Epilepsy

When you think back to your last few seizures, do you notice any patterns in how you felt or what you were doing before they happened?

‘Triggers’ are anything which makes it more likely that a person with epilepsy will have a seizure. They can be internal things (like feeling stressed) or external things (like flashing lights). Everyone’s triggers are different, so being aware of your personal triggers can help you reduce the chances of a seizure. It is also very helpful to track when you think you have had a seizure due to a trigger (Epsy can help you with this).  Identifying triggers may alert you to seizures you might miss.

Common seizure triggers

Some of the most common seizure triggers include:

- Missed medication – Missing doses in people with epilepsy may increase the risk of a seizure
- Tiredness – if you’re tired and are not sleeping properly, you may be at risk for increased seizures
- Stress – stress takes a toll on our brains and in those with epilepsy it may increase seizures
- Alcohol – for some people, alcohol can be a trigger, so speak with your doctor about whether you can drink or not
- Menstruation – around half of women with epilepsy who menstruate have more seizures around their periods
- Illness/high body temperature – your body responds to colds and flu by raising body temperature, but this may cause seizures
- Flashing or flickering lights – some people with epilepsy have seizures that are triggered by strobe lights

There are other kinds of triggers too – so speak to your treatment team for advice on your personal situation. It’s also worth remembering that not everyone has specific triggers.

Seizure diary

A great way to figure out what your triggers are is to keep a seizure diary. Use Epsy to record possible triggers. They will be stored in your doctor’s report and you can then use this to discuss potential triggers with the treatment team.