Epilepsy and Driving
Most states and the District of Columbia will not issue a driver's license to someone with epilepsy unless the person can document that she/he has been seizure-free for a specific amount of time (the waiting period varies from a few months to several years). Some states make exceptions for this policy when seizures don't impair consciousness, occur only during sleep, or have long auras or other warning signs that allow the person to avoid driving when a seizure is likely to occur. Studies show that the risk of having a seizure-related accident decreases as the length of time since the last seizure increases. Commercial drivers’ licenses have additional restrictions. In addition, people with epilepsy should take extra care if a job involves operation of machinery or vehicles.
Epilepsy and Recreation
The risk of seizures also limits people's recreational choices. Individuals may need to take precautions with activities such as climbing, sailing, swimming, or working on ladders. Studies have not shown any increase in seizures due to sports, although these studies have not focused on any activity in particular. There is some evidence that regular exercise may improve seizure control in some people, but this should be done under a doctor’s supervision. The benefits of sports participation may outweigh the risks and coaches or other leaders can take appropriate safety precautions. Steps should be taken to avoid dehydration, overexertion, and hypoglycemia, as these problems can increase the risk of seizure.
Reference: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Last updated May 3, 2017
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