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Epilepsy conference for young people
[Posted: Tue 14/10/2008 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
A special conference for young people with epilepsy is being held in Cork this weekend.
The event is aimed at people aged 16-21 and is the first of its kind ever held in this country. It has been organised by the Cork and Kerry offices of Brainwave, the Irish Epilepsy Association.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition which is diagnosed when someone has recurrent seizures caused by excess electrical activity in the brain. Some 35,000 people in Ireland are currently living with the condition.
The aim of the conference is to provide young people and their parents with an opportunity to discuss the questions, concerns and uncertainties they are faced with as a result of having epilepsy.
“Entering into adulthood can be a time of excitement and anxiety. It is a time when young people start to make decisions for themselves and learn the consequences of those decisions. For a young person with epilepsy, a little more thought and care is required when making decisions that concern their health, wellbeing and ultimately, their quality of life,” explained Niamh Jones, a community resource officer at Brainwave’s Cork office.
A number of expert speakers will address the conference on topics such as career guidance, minimising the impact of epilepsy and the correct use of medications.
The conference will also feature professionally facilitated workshops specifically for young men, young women and parents. These will provide unique opportunities to discuss issues of concern in detail within a closed and understanding environment.
While the event aims to provide a forum for young people, Ms Jones emphasised that parents also have a key role to play as their children grow up to be young adults.
“It can be an apprehensive time as parents often have their own concerns about their child and his or her ability to properly look after him/herself. It is often difficult to relinquish responsibility and trust their child to be self-reliant and independent,” she commented.
Epilepsy can begin at any age, but is most frequently diagnosed in childhood, adolescence and old age. For many young people, epilepsy will only affect them for a short time and is manageable with medication and by modifying lifestyle.
For others, the consequences can be more severe and they have to learn how to cope with the physical impact of seizures, the medications prescribed to control them and reduced social functioning. Inability to drive, issues around employment/education and low self-esteem are also potential problem areas that may be as challenging for young people as the seizures themselves.
“If you have been diagnosed with epilepsy, it is important to find out as much as you can about your epilepsy and talk to people about it so you can feel supported,” explained Dr Aisling Ryan, a consultant neurologist at Cork University Hospital, who will speak about medical treatments at the conference.
The event will take place on Saturday, October 18, in the Metropole Hotel in Cork.
Places are still available but should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment. Young people from anywhere in the country are welcome to attend but under-18s must be accompanied by an adult. Health professionals, carers, teachers and anyone else with an interest in epilepsy are also welcome to attend.
To book a place or to find out more about the event, contact Brainwave at 021 4274774.
For more information on epilepsy, see our Epilepsy Clinic, which was developed in association with Brainwave at…http://www.irishhealth.com/clin/epilepsy/
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