Exploring Common Epileptic Seizure Triggers

While you should not view triggers as causes of epileptic seizures, they can create a situation in which seizures are more likely for someone with epilepsy. The big problem is not every person with epilepsy has seizure triggers. Furthermore, seizure triggers vary from one person to the next. However, there are some more common seizure triggers. If you or someone you love is epileptic, knowing these common triggers is beneficial.

Not Taking Medication

Doctors often prescribe epilepsy medication to prevent seizures. The medication works if you take it a large portion of the time. However, this medication works best when a steady amount of it is in your bloodstream. Unfortunately, this means missing a dose of your medication puts you at an increased risk of having an epileptic seizure.

Restlessness or Exhaustion

Feeling fatigued or not getting enough sleep each night can trigger seizures for someone with epilepsy. The easy solution to this trigger is getting eight to ten hours of sleep every night.


Most would agree that stress isn’t healthy for anyone. In fact, stress is a common trigger for just about any medical condition, including seizures. While stressed, a person drinks alcohol, takes drugs, doesn’t sleep well, or feels depressed. These actions can also trigger seizures. Avoid stress by getting plenty of sleep each night and finding relaxing activities to partake in on a regular basis.

Flashing Lights

Flashing and flickering lights are arguably the most common trigger for epileptic seizures. This type of induced seizure is so common that it has an official name – photosensitive epilepsy. People with this type of epilepsy are sensitive to both natural and artificial lighting. Even certain patterns can induce a seizure. Seizures induced by flashing or flickering lights occur during or shortly after seeing the lights. This is why movies require seizure warnings and why many businesses try to avoid flashing advertisements.


For women, a certain time during the menstrual cycle is a common seizure trigger.

Missing a Meal

Not eating is unhealthy regardless of having epilepsy. For some people, not eating regularly triggers epileptic seizures.


For some, getting sick is a common seizure trigger. For others, it is the fever that really triggers the seizure – not the sickness. When a person has a fever, a seizure is sometimes the body’s response to the shock of the temperature change. There is even a medical condition called febrile seizures. Children under the age of 6 are at the highest risk of febrile seizures.

Recognizing Your Triggers

As stated previously, triggers vary from person to person. Furthermore, some people with epilepsy do not have trigger-induced seizures. The easiest way to determine your triggers is a seizure diary. Everything time you have a seizure, you should take notes afterward about everything you remember. What were you doing before the seizure? How were you feeling? Where were you? In time, your diary will reveal a pattern if you have trigger-induced seizures.

Decrease your risk of seizures by avoiding the common triggers in this list.