The standard treatment for epilepsy is anti-seizure medications. Almost everyone with epilepsy can be successfully treated with these medications. However, no matter how high the success rate is, these drugs do not work for everyone.
Natural treatments such as herbs and vitamins are available alternatives for epilepsy. However, these treatment alternatives have little evidence to support their efficacy. Opting for alternative treatments should be discussed with your doctor, as some of these options may complement current treatment, while others may not.
Herbal treatments have increased in popularity as an alternative through the years. There is an herb appropriate for almost every illness.
Below are some of the herbs used for epilepsy:
- Lily of the valley
- Burning bush
- Tree of heaven
Although there is no scientific evidence to support the efficacy of these herbs, some have the potential to minimize seizures. Herbs are natural but they may cause unwanted side effects such as rashes, headaches and digestive problems.
Gingko, garlic, chamomile, kava and passionflower must be avoided, as these herbs can interact with anti-epileptic drugs which may increase sedation and medication levels.
Folic acid and vitamins B6, D and E are frequently used for epilepsy. These help reduce seizure attacks in epilepsy, but these vitamins cannot work alone. Follow the proper dosage to prevent overdose.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine which involves placing fine needles in different areas of the body, to help treat chronic pain as well as help the body to heal. Acupuncture is thought to alter brain activities which can result in decreased seizures.
Chiropractic treatments, particularly spinal manipulation, helps the body heal itself. Specific manipulations have been practiced by some chiropractors to control seizures of patients with epilepsy. However, chiropractic care is not widely accepted as an effective type of treatment for epilepsy.
Self Control Techniques
Some people with epilepsy experience symptoms several minutes before a seizure. Thus, preventing its occurrence may be possible. The theory behind this technique is that if you can notice symptoms of an impending seizure, then preventing it may be possible.
People who can control their brain activity can reduce the rate of recurrences.
The various methods of self control techniques include:
- Immersing yourself in a task
- Activley telling yourself it is not a seizure
- Smelling a strong odor
All these methods require focus and good concentration. But, there is no guarantee that self control techniques work every time. Keep in mind that there is no single way to prevent a seizure.
Biofeedback is a technique which uses electrical sensors to modify brain waves. The purpose of biofeedback is to take charge of brain activity. This procedure is usually done by physical therapists.
There are certain dietary changes that can help minimize the occurrence of seizures. The most well known is the ketogenic diet. This diet is considered low protein, low carbohydrates diet. It focuses on eating high fats.
The brain is a very complex organ. Each case of epilepsy is different, and no single treatment works for everyone. Remember, natural treatments may or may not complement your existing treatment plan. Talk to your doctor to see if natural treatments are right for you.
- Natural treatments have little to no evidence about their effects
- Folic acid and vitamins B6, D and E are frequently used for epilepsy
- Ketogenic diet is the best known diet recommended for people with epilepsy