Seizure and migraine management consists almost entirely of medication use. The list of anti-seizure medications has expanded over the years, but outcomes have not improved much. Patients still suffer from migraines and seizures and can have their entire lives shut down during an attack and even up to days afterwards. But is there a better way to manage migraine headaches and seizures?
Clearly exercise, dietary changes and targeted supplementation are powerful additions to every patient’s approach to migraines and seizures. The research is strongly in support of using these tools. The ketogenic diet alone is an approach with better outcomes than every medication on the planet.
Regardless of the condition affecting the brain, whether migraines, seizures, Alzheimer’s or dementia, stress is unquestionably a key trigger to symptoms flaring. Management or, better avoidance, of stress is critical.
But what if the patient cannot manage their stress? Are there other tools that can be brought into play that might be able to abort a migraine or seizure before it starts? Turns out there are indeed very powerful tools available.
Behavioral psychology may yet turn out to be THE most powerful tool for managing epilepsy and migraines. Neurologists and psychologists will both agree that aberrant brain firing results in migraines and seizures. The similarities stop there. Neurologists traditionally believe that the problem is one of brain chemistry. This brain chemistry needs to be “fixed” with medications. The belief that patients can influence the condition is not propagated.
The view from the psychology side of things is different. Extrinsic factors that are absolutely within control of the patient are more critical than internal factors. Teaching the patient to identify feelings and patterns of emotions and using successful tools to positively affect thought patterns is a powerful tool that has been around for more than 50 years.
The medical literature is filled with case studies and clinical studies of patients who are able to abort the onset of a seizure through a variety of interventions, all within control of the patient.
This particular study is a more recent example of just how incredibly powerful these techniques can be. This was a study looking at these techniques at aborting a seizure that was about to start. Researchers found some interesting results:
- Half the patients (30/60) experienced at least a 50% reduction in seizures.
- 37% of the patients became seizure free by the end of the program.
Wow! This wasn’t with medications. No lifestyle changes. No restricted diet. Just the identification of a trigger or warning sign and the implementation of a behavioral action to abort the seizures.
There is a single, strong caveat here. The patient has to accept that the condition that he or she has has a strong intrinsic etiology, and an internal locus of control is required for the best management of the condition. Not enough patients share this view of their problem.
The question I seem to be perpetually asking is, why, after 50+ years, is this type of approach a part of every seizure and migraine patient’s treatment plan???