Seizure Triggers

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Does anyone know what can trigger your seizures? What do you usually do to avoid these triggers. My triggers are usually not enough rest or if I forget to take my medicine. Besides me has anyone forgotten to take their medicine?
I definitely have more seizures when I don't get enough sleep. Or if I m out of my normal schedule. I am newer to meds for my seizures, but I think I forgot my a.m. dose once. I try to keep to a schedule.

I have anywhere from 1 to 7 complex partial seizures a day that I don't worry about the triggers anymore. When I was first diagnosed, I had high hopes of being seizure free and I tried very hard to avoid the triggers. However, even when I avoided most triggers (I had a good sleep pattern and took my meds exactly 12 hours apart) I still had daily now...I am more relaxed and I try to find ways to just enjoy life as much as I can.

I still find that getting plenty of sleep is very very important, but for me...if I forget one isn't going to affect me terribly (please keep in mind that this is just me because I am already having seizures...LOL). If your seizures are controlled, missing your pills even once could possibly affect your it may be important to not miss your pills.
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I have never been able to identify any specific triggers. Good sleep and reduced stress make me feel better overall, however neither seems to affect me.

Once in a great while I do miss a dose of my medication. When I do, I am very careful the next few days just in case. For ME, this does not usually cause any problems, but that may be because my medications are extended release and rely more on a long term level in my system versus a short impact like an aspirin.

Anyone taking Dilantin may want to ask your Neuro about Phenytek. Same thing only extended release is what my Neuro told me. My research on the web says the same. This helps keep a stable level in your blood at all times.
Mine are low blood sugar, too much stress, and not enough sleep. As for the medication...yeah, believe it or not, I've forgotten to take it. Of course, when you're supposed to take it 5 times a day, and you sleep in on Saturday, it tends to throw the med schedule off.
Mine are low blood sugar, too much stress, and not enough sleep. As for the medication...yeah, believe it or not, I've forgotten to take it. Of course, when you're supposed to take it 5 times a day, and you sleep in on Saturday, it tends to throw the med schedule off.

hahahaha! Skillefer, I only take mine twice a day, but it needs to be exactly 12 hours apart. So, I was taking it at 9 and 9, but I kept missing it as I sometimes slept past 9. Then I tried 10 and 10. Finally, I just decided 12 and 12 were the safest bet! There are those nights that I want to fall asleep before midnight though...LOL!
Rebecca's biggest trigger is her hormones. In addition I am sure that some of her medicines were triggers too. Blood sugar levels, or types of food also seem to be an issue, but I can pin point what.

Right now nothing is triggering her except last month the first day of her period did.
Triggers. I know for sure that bumpy roads can trigger my seizures, whether it's on the motorcycle with my husband or in the car. In Ok, you can't avoid bumpy roads; our road system is really in bad state of repair.
I know that the temperature of the shower is a trigger; that I can and do control.
I know that if I'm out in the yard working in the heat, I can have a seizure. I am like others: work early, and stay in during the heat of the day.
And then there are times that in spite of being careful about everything I'm doing, I still have that unexpected seizure. I am 60 years old, and I'm really getting tired of those unexpected seizures.
So, I pretty much do what I want with some vigilance and caution and do the best I can.
I find that a big trigger for me and lots of other ppl who may not know it is 3-D movie viewing, (movies like Avatar) through those funny glasses.
For me, after about 5 mins, I get a headache and/or an aura (even though my seizures have been perfectly controlled for 31 years)
Other ppl may experience other probs such as fainting, dizziness, nausia etc.
It has been documented that 3-D viewing CAN cause a health risk to ppl with an underlying medical condition succ as a seizure condition.
Now I hear that SONY and PANISONIC are making 3-D televisions and it has come under fire by the Canadian medical board.

My triggers are taking my meds even 1 hour late, lack of sleep, and any changes in my meds (going off, starting a new one, changing the dose up or down).
My son's triggers are stress and lack of sleep. Of all the seizures he's had, all but one was started at his father's house. And he's with me more than 1/2 time. I know his father stresses him out, but I'm afraid there's not much I can do about it :(
being startled or angry, low blood sugar, tired, to excited, video games. Stress. It is hard to tell my family they stress me out.

loud noises can.
not taking one of my meds for the past few days has been a bit rough, spent two days in bed having seizures, finally count was more than 10.
Here are some of the most common seizure triggers:

Flickering or Flashing Light

If you have photosensitive epilepsy, certain types of flickering or flashing light may incite a seizure. The trigger could be exposure to television screens due to the flicker or rolling images, computer monitors, certain video games or TV broadcasts containing rapid flashes, even alternating patterns of different colors, in addition to intense strobe lights.

And surprisingly, seizures may be triggered by natural light, such as sunlight, especially when shimmering off water, even sun flickering through trees or through the slats of Venetian blinds.


Stress can trigger hyperventilation which can provoke seizures, especially absence seizures. It can increase cortisol, known as “the stress hormone” because cortisol is secreted in higher levels during the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress. And it’s responsible for several stress-related changes in the body which also may influence seizure activity.

Negative emotions related to stress, such as anger, worry or fright, may also cause seizures. This happens because the limbic system, the portion of the brain that regulates emotion, is one of the most common places for seizures to begin. You’ll probably find that you have more seizures during or after periods of anxiety or stress.

Lack of Sleep

Inadequate or fragmented sleep can set off seizures in lots of people. In one study, the lowest risk for seizures was during REM sleep (when dreams occur). The highest risk was during light non-REM stages of sleep.


For many women, certain hormones seem to trigger seizures at particular times in their menstrual cycle. It can be during ovulation, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause. This is known as “catamenial epilepsy.” If you’re going through menopause, you may find that the hormonal changes at this time make you more likely to have seizures, (although for some women, seizures will not be affected or become less frequent).

Food Allergies

Both food sensitivities and allergies can definitely trigger seizures. Especially foods that are rich in glutamate and aspartame – two very excitatory amino acids. Food allergies may also trigger seizures in children who also have migraine headaches, hyperactive behavior and abdominal pains.


High fevers in children can commonly incite a seizure. Vomiting, diarrhea, and fever are all triggers. And vomiting may reduce the dosage level of previously ingested anti-seizure medication. As for adults, they usually weather illness fine but it can reduce the seizure threshold, and make you more likely to have a seizure.

Prescription Drugs

Some prescription medications — especially penicillin, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs — can prevent your medication from working. It could be caused by the way your system responds to a certain a drug, a combination of drugs, reaction or withdrawal. Make sure all your doctors know everything you take.


Certain over-the-counter medications (Advil and Tylenol are fine but never take aspirin!) can make you more likely to have a seizure, if you have epilepsy or a history of seizures. For example, anti-depressants and antihistamines are possible seizure triggers. Also certain supplements — like evening primrose oil — can also be a trigger.


There are two questions that have to be considered when the question of alcohol use and epilepsy comes up. One is the effect that alcohol could have on the medicines used to control seizures. Alcohol can be dangerous when mixed with sedative drugs and can cause coma, or even death. The other question is whether the alcohol itself will cause seizures.

Large amounts of alcohol are thought to raise the risk of seizures and may even cause them. When you drink alcohol, it may temporarily reduce seizures for a few hours, but then increases the chances of a seizure as the alcohol leaves your body.

Cigarette Smoking

Nicotine is both a stimulant and a depressant to the central nervous system. The nicotine in cigarettes acts on receptors for the excitatory neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, which increases neuronal firing.

But if you want to STOP smoking, here’s a piece of scary information: some nicotine preparations used to help people stop smoking can have a side effect of convulsions. So, if you’re thinking of quitting, check out your smoking cessation program with your doc first.


Much like nicotine, caffeine stimulates the nervous system. Adrenaline is released and the liver begins to emit stored blood sugar. Insulin is then released, and blood sugar drops below normal—a common seizure trigger. And caffeine can be a “stealth” drug, too. It can be found as an ingredient in medications, including some antihistamines and decongestants.

Musicogenic Epilepsy

This is a form of reflexive epilepsy in which a seizure is triggered by music or specific frequencies. Sensitivity to music varies from person to person. Some people are sensitive to a particular tone from a voice or instrument. Others are sensitive to a particular musical style or rhythm. Still others are sensitive to a range of noises.

Individual Triggers

A common trigger is too much heat, internal from extremely excessive exercise or external from an overheated house or apartment. Other triggers include the smell of glue and the color yellow! Many people have their own specific triggers, while others don’t. It’s a combination of possibilities: personal chemistry, biology and genetics.

My triggers so far are built up stress and caffeine. I usually have seizures in the afternoon and evening worse if tired.

John Runer
This week I found a new one for me. A ceiling fan when it's set a a certain speed. Faster or slower won't do it. It has to be right on a certain frequency. I felt myself slipping into an aura, shook myself mentally and left the room. I avoided a seizure but the aura stayed awhile. Not pleasant.

I'm also dismayed that I discovered alcohol is a trigger for me. Almost a 1:1 correlation. Darn.
The ones I have found to date are Stress, sleep deprivation and apparently changes in barometric pressure (storms).
Heres a question we have a DVR and I have noticed I start shaking violently if I watch the images as my wife fast forwards it. Just watching T.V. or using a computer does not seem to bother me though, nor do light tests during EEG's.

I think maybe it may be too hard for my brain to keep up with th images like a rapid eye movement trigger?

Any thought's.

Alcohol and Seizures

Question for you all -

Alcohol is definitely a seizure trigger for me. Strange thing, though. I don't get the seizure while I'm under the influence. I usually get it 8-12 hours later. This doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't the seizure happen while my body is metabolizing the liquor? Say, just after drinking to about 4 hours after?

Anybody got the scientific explanation for this?
Heres a question we have a DVR and I have noticed I start shaking violently if I watch the images as my wife fast forwards it. Just watching T.V. or using a computer does not seem to bother me though, nor do light tests during EEG's.

I think maybe it may be too hard for my brain to keep up with th images like a rapid eye movement trigger?

Any thought's.


Sounds logical to me. If it makes you feel bad, don't watch the screen when she does this.
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