Youth transitioning (for teens) by Epilepsy Foundation Texas

Youth transitioning for teens.

As you get older, you will have more and more opportunities to take care of yourself. This can be anything from working with your school counselor to choose your class schedule to finding your way around with transportation options. As a teen living with epilepsy, others may not always be there to take care of you. Transitioning to adulthood is a part of that process. This information is here to help.

Learn more about epilepsy.

A seizure is a brief, excessive discharge of electrical activity in the brain that can change the way you move, what you sense (see, hear, feel, and/or smell), how you act, and how aware you are of things around you. Usually, someone is diagnosed with epilepsy after they have had one or more unexplained seizures. The brain controls everything, so different parts of the brain control what you do. It controls how you walk, how you remember things, how you make decisions, and how you sense things. It controls everything!

Youth transitioning: image of the brain and what each part does.

Sometimes, people have seizures in only one part of their brain, so they might smell something that isn’t there, give a blank look, or flutter an eyelid. Other people have seizures in their whole brain, so they can lose consciousness, flex all of their muscles at once, shake, or get really tired.

  • 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime
  • 3.4 million people in the US have epilepsy
  • 470,000 children and teens are living with epilepsy in the US
  • There are more than 20 different kinds of seizures
  • Epilepsy is not contagious
  • Epilepsy is not a mental illness
  • A person cannot swallow his/her tongue when they have a seizure
Did you know that there is a connection between epilepsy and hormones? The parietal lobe is connected to an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. This area controls your hormones. While you may not experience any side effects, here is some important information for you.

Women and Epilepsy

Seizures may occur more frequently during your menstrual cycle if your seizures begin in your parietal lobe. Because of this, women with epilepsy are more likely to have conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and irregular bleeding. It is important to talk to your neurologist, especially if you plan on taking hormonal contraception as there may be medication interactions.
Learn more

Men and Epilepsy

While hormonal changes may be less obvious in men, you still may have some effects. About 4 out of 10
men with epilepsy have low levels of testosterone. This can be related to side effects such as low energy, competitive drive, and mood among others.
Always remember: stay with the person having a seizure, keep them safe, and turn them to their side if they are not awake and aware. Do not put anything in their mouths and do not restrain the person. You can remember with “Stay, Safe, Side.”
Youth transitioning: "Stay, Safe, Side" Seizure First Aid guide.

Many teens start to see an adult doctor when they turn 18. There are lots of ways you can get ready to start seeing a doctor on your own. Signing in for your appointment, asking your doctor what kind of seizures you have, keeping track of when you have seizures so you can tell the doctor at your appointment, are all part of it. Check out these links for more information.

Teen Transition Readiness Assessment
Turning 18: What it Means for Your Health
Differences Between Pediatric and Adult Care

Good and Bad Doctor Visits

These videos are examples of conversations between a teen and their doctor. One video is an example of how teens should be included in their medical decisions. The other video shows adults, including a doctor, not involving a teen in her medical decisions. Ask questions and speak up! Make sure you understand.

Thinking about your future should include plans for your career. Check out some of these resources to help you think about jobs you might be interested in. Some of these resources can also help you figure out how much money you will need to make to do all of the things you want to do. The Texas Workforce Commission and other organizations have programs to help teens living with epilepsy navigate their employment future, see links below.
The Texas Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services serves youth and students with disabilities to help prepare for post-secondary education and employment opportunities. Services are eligibility and need-based.

Videos: Learn More