Physical and mental conditions have been associated with stress and anxiety as frequent triggers causing worsening in quality of life. In fact, researchers have found that stress can increase the frequency and severity of seizures and have realized how important it is to reduce the risk of seizures by controlling or, better yet, minimizing the levels of stress.
Accumulated stressful situations lead to stress and stress alters the normal activity of the brain. This creates chemical and hormonal changes making the cells of the brain (neurons)work differently and potentially leading to seizures.
Chronic or repeated stressful situations can cause psychological problems like anxiety, panic attacks and depression increasing the chances of seizures. In addition, all these conditions can be associated to sleep problems potentially causing more seizures.
Different therapies have been used to control stress in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. Treatments with medications and therapies free of medications may be considered to help you take control of different levels of stress.
Researchers and clinicians have learned that therapies that don’t include medications, like mindfulness and yoga, also could benefit your mental health, physical health, and overall quality of life.
Mindfulness therapy and other related forms of meditation have been practiced for millennia and by many different cultures. In mindfulness meditation, there is often a focus on breathing and the body, then also paying attention to thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surroundings in the present moment without judging them, going back to the past or imagining the future.
Mindfulness is a therapy used to calm/relax the mind and the body. To achieve this goal, mindfulness includes different practices such as meditation, yoga, art therapy and some types of physical activity. In fact, most things can be done in a mindful way.
All of these practices help you to relax, to control your breathing, to focus your attention and to practice healthy activities. This not only reduces the levels of stress and risks of multiple conditions, but it also reduces the frequency of your seizures.
To obtain the benefits of mindfulness, this type of therapy may also be supervised by your epileptologist or another member of the team who will help you identify trusted resources and effective mindfulness programs.
Despite the impact of mindfulness, clinicians and researchers are still studying the benefits, the appropriate techniques and length of time to practice this therapy for people with drug-resistant epilepsy.