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Identify your seizure triggers

Close-up of hands writing in a journal.

If you have epilepsy, take steps to identify your seizure triggers. Knowing what prompts your seizures can help you prepare for—or even reduce—your seizures.

If you have epilepsy, a brain disorder that causes repeated seizures, you might find that your seizures are triggered by certain situations or patterns. Something that consistently occurs before a seizure happens is known as a seizure trigger. Identifying your seizure triggers can be an important part of managing your epilepsy.

Identifying your triggers

To help identify triggers, keep a seizure journal. Take notes on what happened before each seizure and what time of day it occurred.

Tracking those details may help you identify situations where seizures are likely to happen. When you know your triggers, you may be able to avoid them. Or, if seizure triggers aren't something avoidable—like seizures that occur during sleep or when waking up—you can be prepared.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Epilepsy Foundation, some common seizure triggers include:

  • Flashing bright lights or patterns.
  • A specific time of day.
  • Stress.
  • Not getting enough sleep.
  • Illness.
  • Lack of food or fluids.
  • Alcohol use or withdrawal.
  • Certain medications—or missing a dose of anti-seizure medications.

Talk to your doctor

Share your seizure journal with your doctor. They can help you identify and manage epilepsy triggers—so you can live better with epilepsy.

Reviewed 11/3/2021

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