Triggers of Seizures

Some people may find that seizures occur in a pattern or are more likely to occur in certain situations. Sometimes these connections are just by chance, but other times it’s not. Keeping track of any factors that may precipitate a seizure (also called seizure triggers) can help you recognize when a seizure may be coming. You can then be prepared and learn how to lessen the chance that a seizure may occur at this time.

Some people will notice one or two triggers very easily, for example their seizures may occur only during sleep or when waking up. Other people may notice that some triggers bother them only when a lot is going on at once or it is during a ‘high risk’ time for them (for example when under a lot of stress or when sick).

What are some commonly reported triggers?

  • Specific time of day or night
  • Sleep deprivation – overtired, not sleeping well, not getting enough sleep
  • At times of fevers or other illnesses
  • Flashing bright lights or patterns
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Stress
  • Associated with menstrual cycle (women) or other hormonal changes
  • Not eating well, low blood sugar
  • Specific foods, excess caffeine or other products that may aggravate seizures
  • Use of certain medications

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