Epilepsy, this electric shock in the brain: autopsy of an unknown pathology

For most people, an epileptic fit is one where you fall, convulse, and drool. It’s wrong. There is not an epilepsy but epilepsies. In addition, the symptoms are very varied from person to person. Alexandre Lafont, alias Epilepticman on YouTube, knows what he is talking about: his first seizure, he had it at 14-15 years old.

Not one, but epilepsies

In his videos, he struggles to break the clichés about the disease. Jerky flow, uninhibited humor, sometimes a little gory, but always very pedagogical. A carton with teenagers, a breath of fresh air for parents.

Multiple origins

Epilepsy is often genetic in origin. It can also be linked to a brain malformation, an infection (encephalitis, meningitis) or come from brain damage after a head trauma, a tumor or a stroke. But in more than half of cases, no cause is found for its occurrence.

Variable crises

Seizures can vary from less than once a year to several times a day. And in some cases, evolve from partial crisis to generalized crisis. With the risk if they are repeated, without regaining consciousness between two attacks, of being very dangerous for the patient. We speak then status epilepticus . A major medical emergency.

False ideas

The general public has in mind the crisis with fall, loss of consciousness and convulsions. The great evil of which speaks and suffers Epilepticman. But this spectacular and generalized crisis (the whole brain is affected), called “tonic-clonic”, does not concerns only 30% to 40% of crises , recalls Marie-Christine Poulain, president of the association Epi Brittany, member of the EFAPPE federation. The reality for 60% to 70% of patients who have it is a focal seizure or partial , who trains sometimes unrecognizable symptoms ranging from muscle twitching to difficulty speaking or loss of attention, depending on the area affected.

Other received ideas run on epilepsy: find the video that answers them on our social networks.

Favoring factors

Forgetting the treatment, stress, alcohol, drugs, lack of sleep but also the menstrual cycle can promote seizures. Hence the usefulness of a healthy lifestyle. Almost 70% of people with epilepsy lead normal lives on treatment , reassures Marie-Christine Poulain. Do regular physical activity (with a sport adapted to your situation), learn to manage your emotions, find psychological support and information from associations contribute to better living the disease.

Overcome handicap

This is a first in France, launched in 2016 in Rennes: shared accommodation for people with epilepsy and motor disabilities, supported by the Brittany APF France Handicap association, and the Epi Bretagne association. Located in the city center, the Saint-Cyr grouped habitat improves the quality of life of its tenants and their social inclusion. The initiative, greeted by Secretary of State Sophie Cluzel, begins to swarm.

Some books to find out more

A storm in my head: epilepsy, by Brigitte Marleau (ed. Boomerang jeunesse, 24p.) is an illustrated book for children.

Epilepsy 100 questions / answers to better understand epilepsy, by Sophie Dupont (ed. Ellipses, 120 p.) is made up of questions from patients, their relatives and nursing staff.

100 ideas to support a child with epilepsy , by Dorothée Leunen (ed. Tom Pousse, 208 p.) suggests avenues for reflection, practical solutions and responses to the stigmatization of people with epilepsy.

Epilepsy in children, Daily life tips , by Prof. Stéphane Auvin (ed. John Libbey Eurotext, 142 p.), with the testimony of Soline Roy.

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