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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Accidents and how to reduce the risk of epilepsy-related deaths due to accidents

In this section:

Accidents and how to reduce the risk of epilepsy-related death due to accidents

Although this information may feel worrying, it’s really important to know about the possible accidents that can lead to an epilepsy-related death. And it’s even more important to know about things you can do to make the risks as low as possible. Injury is a risk you are already likely to know about. But drowning, burning and accidental poisoning are also serious risks. Sometimes these may happen because you are confused during or after a seizure. The best possible way to keep these risks to a minimum is to get the best seizure control possible.

See Epilepsy Action’s information on Getting the right treatment and care for your epilepsy to reduce the risk of seizures (and accidents).

None of us can stop all accidents happening. But Epilepsy Action has a range of suggestions that can reduce the risk in different situations:

Epilepsy and suicide

If you have epilepsy there is a higher possibility that you’ll feel depressed than someone without epilepsy, at some point. For some people this can lead to thoughts of suicide. If you’re feeling depressed it’s really important that you tell someone how you’re feeling. At the end of this section are some places you can try for support.

Some things that may mean you are more likely to feel depressed or suicidal:

  • Having an epilepsy medicine that can cause mood swings
  • Having temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Having difficult to control epilepsy
  • Feeling depressed before your epilepsy started
  • Having problems with alcohol or drugs

Talking to someone such as your family doctor, epilepsy specialist nurse or neurologist is the first and most important step in getting some help.

If you don’t want to talk to a medical person, or you need someone to talk to when there is no medical person available, try the Samaritans. They are on the end of the phone 24 hours a day. Their phone number is 0845 790 90 90.

Some useful organisations:

About suicide
NHS Choices website: nhs.uk
Samaritans website: samaritans.org

Depression
Epilepsy Action website: epilepsy.org.uk

Help with alcohol
NHS website: nhs.uk

Help with drugs
NHS website: nhs.uk

Epilepsy medicines and thoughts of suicide

In some countries, the authorities who regulate medicines have described a link between treatment with epilepsy medicines and thoughts of suicide. We don’t know if this increased risk is for people with epilepsy in general, or more likely for people taking certain epilepsy medicines.

If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. If you are unable to access the internet, please contact our Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone on 0808 800 5050.

Code: 
F006.05
Event Date: 
Thursday 31 March 2016 - 15:22

Epilepsy Action would like to thank Consultant Neurologist Dr John Paul Leach of Southern General Hospital Glasgow for his contributions to this information. He has declared no conflict of interest.

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated April 2016
    To be reviewed April 2019

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