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Talking About Epilepsy

Dr. Nicole Danforth

Nicole Danforth, MD
Psychiatrist, MGH

This is a transcript of a video from the Growing Up with Epilepsy Web site. For more information visit

Dr. Nicole Danforth: The most important part when talking about epilepsy is keeping a developmental perspective in mind. And while we encourage families to make the implicit explicit so, to talk about it you also need to do it in a responsible way that minimizes fear and distortion. Young people, for instance, you know, at a certain developmental age, we all believe that what happens in the world is because of something we did. For instance, my little sister had a seizure because I didn't finish my homework. And it's called magical thinking. And it can really lead to a lot of feelings of guilt and sort of distorted anger and frustration. And so when talking about it, either with the advice of a mental health professional or with your own sort of centered understanding of where your children are developmentally, you want to make sure that you're giving short, clear and concise sort of explanations to what's going on. And generally we've found that's pretty successful.