What is your goal for seizure management?

For most people, getting rid of seizures, or at least having less seizures is number one. However, seizures can affect the quality of your life, and that of your family’s, in many ways. This can cause more problems than the seizures at times! Your goals may be quite different from someone else's. Think carefully about what you want and hope to achieve.

To begin setting goals, ask yourself the following questions. Write down your answers and share them with your health care team. They may influence what treatments you try, or what other help you may need.

  • What is my goal for seizure management?
  • How important is it for me to have…
    • No seizures
    • No side effects of treatment
  • What would I like to have change in my daily life?
    (for example, get a job, drive a car, go to school, feel less depressed, remember more easily)
  • What would I like to see changed to improve my family’s life?
    (for example, feel less dependent, be less of a 'burden', family worry less, less health care expenses)

How do I make these goals and what do I with them?

Once you answer these questions, write down at least 3 goals that you can start working on now.

Each goal should be:

  • Specific – what specific thing do you want to achieve?
  • Measureable - can you measure your progress?
  • Achievable - can you do it at this time?
  •  Realistic – Is it realistic?
  • Time-based - Can you set a timeframe that you’ll work on this?

Here’s an example of a goal to help manage my medicines better.

Over the next 6 months, I will change the way I take my medicines so I will not have any seizures from missing doses.

  • It’s specific – I want to have less seizures! Especially none that I could prevent by doing a better job with my medicines.
  • It’s measureable - I can track my seizures using my epilepsy diary and note whether I’ve missed any meds when I have a seizure. I can track other triggers too which can help me figure out other things I can do.
  • It’s achievable – I have everything I need to do it, I just need to develop a plan to prevent missing meds. My health care team can help me do this.
  • It’s realistic – It’s a very real goal. Missing medicines is one of the most common reasons for breakthrough seizures. I know I have seizures even when I take all my medicines, but they are more often and more severe if I don’t take my meds regularly. It may be hard to do, but it’s realistic to achieve.
  • It’s time-based – I’ve put a timeframe on this to make me do it.  I’ve allowed myself 6 months to get this under control. This will give me time to track my seizures for a few months and find out how often I miss medicines and why. Then I can make some changes (like use a pillbox, set my smartphone to ring when it’s time for my pills, have my diary send me text messages too!), then track my seizures for a few months and see how I have done!


Authored By: 
Steven C. Schachter, MD
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Joseph I. Sirven MD
Authored Date: