Learn More About Epilepsy to Celebrate Purple Day
For someone with epilepsy, an everyday activity like driving to work or taking a shower can suddenly become incredibly dangerous. While over 60 million Americans suffer from epilepsy, many people do not understand the dramatic impact it can have on a person’s life, safety, and ability to perform everyday activities. In honor of Purple Day, which is dedicated to raising awareness about epilepsy, let’s look at some of the basics of epilepsy, including how it may qualify for Social Security Disability.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the nervous system. It leads to abnormal brain activity, causing seizures, periods of unusual behavior, or a loss of awareness or consciousness. It is closely associated with seizures, or the physical symptoms of the brain’s abnormal activity. But while many people associate seizures with uncontrollable convulsions, not all people experience such symptoms. For example, people with focal seizures may experience changes in senses like smell, hearing, and touch without a loss of consciousness. On the other hand, someone suffering from a tonic seizure might experience sudden stiffening of the muscles. There are many different types of seizures that may be caused by epilepsy, and the manifestation of symptoms varies. Overall, however, some general symptoms of epileptic seizures might include:
- Temporary confusion
- Staring spells
- Loss of consciousness or awareness
- Fear and anxiety
- A sense of déjà vu
- Uncontrollable jerking of arms or legs
Of the 65 million people who live with epilepsy, about half of them have no identifiable cause for the disorder. There is no known cause, though some causes might include genetics, traumatic brain injuries, developmental disorders, or certain infections, like AIDS or meningitis. Some people with epilepsy, particularly those diagnosed as children, may eventually stop experiencing seizures, while others may continue to have seizures or other symptoms throughout their lives. Since there are many causes and types of epilepsy, the types of treatment also vary. Many people thrive while on anti-seizure medications, and may be able to be seizure-free within a few years of taking medication. Others may require surgery, or may rely on other methods, like dietary changes.
If epilepsy goes without treatment, it can have serious health and safety consequences. Most seizures occur with little or mild physical injury, and while dangerous, epilepsy on its own is generally not fatal. However, the risk of death for people with epilepsy is still 1.6 to 3 times higher. This is because seizures can put someone at risk when they are doing an activity like driving, swimming, cooking, or working. For example, if someone has a seizure while operating heavy machinery at work, it could cause serious injury to them or other’s around them. Similarly, a seizure behind the wheel could lead to a car accident.
Epilepsy and SSD
Its dangerous impact on everyday life is a big reason why epilepsy might qualify someone for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If someone has seizures, they might not be able to perform work-related tasks, ranging from operating machinery to thinking, focusing, and communicating.
For epilepsy to qualify someone for SSD, the seizures must be frequent and disabling. If someone has epilepsy but takes medication that keeps them seizure-free, they likely will not qualify, since their condition is well-controlled. On the other hand, if someone has frequent or severe seizures even with treatment, they may qualify for SSD. If seizures are not frequent but still limit a person’s work ability, it may still qualify for SSD.
To qualify, you must present the Social Security Administration with information such as:
- A diagnoses of epilepsy from a doctor
- Detailed descriptions of your typical seizure
- A description of your seizures from a third-party witness
- Records on the frequency of your seizures
- Detailed treatment history
It is not always easy to find SSD benefits for epilepsy. When an application is denied despite a person’s medical condition, it can be a frustrating time. If you are suffering from epilepsy, finding support and trusted representation can get you through the trials of SSD.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.