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You may have just been diagnosed with epilepsy, or perhaps you have had it for a long time, and are thinking of changing jobs. Or you might be fresh out of college and are applying for your first job. Maybe, your seizures are now controlled because of your medications, or you have been seizure-free for some time and are thinking of going back to work. Naturally, you may be wondering whether your epilepsy will stand in the way. The good news is that you might be able to, and we hope this article will help you understand how.
There are many kinds of epilepsy, each having different effects on people. The WHO lists some common symptoms of epilepsy to generally include:
If your epilepsy has been well controlled with medications, then you should be able to work at any type of job. If your epilepsy sometimes causes you to feel nauseous or dizzy, you may still be able to do some kinds of jobs that don’t require a lot of physical and mental activity and that wouldn’t risk your safety. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, many people living with epilepsy are working at a wide range of different jobs, so you’ll just have to find one that is right for you. 
You should consider that if you have occasional seizures, then it’s best to look for jobs that don’t require you to drive. Aside from that, you can look into applying for jobs like teaching, healthcare, support roles, etc, based on your qualifications and the frequency of your seizures. For example, Kirsty, an Embrace user, works full-time, while Emily, another Embrace user, also works full-time at a hospital and is an aspiring writer.
It may feel hard to work if you are constantly feeling tired because of your epilepsy, but you should feel confident to speak to your employer about it and see whether there are ways to adjust your role or work conditions . For example, they might adjust your shift or help you work at your own pace.
For those who are less able to work because of their epilepsy, your local government may offer benefits, depending on your country’s policy. In the US for example, you may be able to claim Social Security disability benefits, by providing detailed medical evidence about your epilepsy. In the UK, you can also apply for the Employment Support Allowance (ESA) to support you while working.
For benefits in other countries, you can get information on how you can be supported through epilepsy support groups or the government website of your country.
It may feel disheartening if discrimination occurs, especially if you have told your employers and colleagues about your condition and didn’t get the reaction and support that you were expecting. Certain laws cover epilepsy patients in this regard, and, like the benefits, it varies from country to country. In the USA, for example, there’s the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which demands that all workers should be treated equally and not discriminated against based on their disability, epilepsy included. The UK also has the Equality Act (2010) to protect workers with disabilities, and so do most other countries.
If the frequency of your seizures increases or if they become uncontrollable, it may be advisable to stop working to avoid posing any danger to yourself. Check with your local community for disability benefits that you might be eligible for to give you support.
We know that living with epilepsy can be difficult, so don’t hesitate to reach out to people around you who also have epilepsy to gain support from them. You can also read some Embrace user stories here to gain some inspiration.
If you have epilepsy and still go to work, feel free to share your story with us by posting it on Facebook/Instagram and tagging our page (@Empatica on FB, @empatica_wearables on IG) or use the hashtag #MyEmbraceStory We’ll love to hear from you!
All the best!
*Disclaimer: The Mate App is not intended to make any diagnostic or treatment recommendations based on sleep or activity tracking, but instead, it can give you insights on your overall rest and physical activity.