Is There a Connection Between Epileptic Disorders and Eating Disorders

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Epileptic disorders, or epilepsy, is a condition in the brain that impacts nerve cells in an abnormal way. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder, impacting people of a variety of ages [1].

Epilepsy is characterized by a unpredictable seizures, which can result in a range of other health issues. Epilepsy is a chronic condition, and often times, the source of the seizures is completely unknown. These factors in addition to the general public perception about this condition can be extremely difficult to cope with for an individual struggling with this disorder.

Understanding the Possible Eating Disorder Connection

For a person who may already have other risk factors that make them susceptible to having an eating disorder, struggling with a condition like epilepsy can trigger full development. Because epilepsy can be severely debilitating and impact a person’s relationships, work/career, independency, safety, and more, mental, emotional and psychological wellness are also at risk.

For a person with epilepsy who is perhaps facing some of the emotional and mental consequences from this neurological disorder, an eating disorder may develop as a means of coping with overwhelming environmental triggers.

There are other aspects of epilepsy treatment that might trigger eating disorder behaviors. For example, a person dealing with epilepsy might be prescribed certain anti-seizure medications that effectively dull the appetite or make food seem less appealing.

Other side effects from certain medications might include weight loss, nausea or vomiting, which can also made eating much for difficult. For a person who is susceptible to an eating disorder, these side effects can trigger much more severe and abnormal eating behaviors associated with an eating disorder.

Epileptic Disorders and Connecting to the Appropriate Treatment

If yoWoman in the sunshineu are struggling with both an eating disorder and epilepsy, know that you are not alone. There is comprehensive treatment available to help support you through the many complex issues you might be facing.

It is important to seek out appropriate specialists who can collaborate together for your treatment. Having a neurologist who can also interface with an eating disorder treatment team will offer the comprehensive care needed to address both of these crucial issues at hand.

Never try to take matters in your own hand, especially when it comes to medication management, as epilepsy is something that should be monitored by a qualified physician.

If your eating disorder is more problematic, it may be helpful to seek out the care of a treatment team, who can also help address the medical concerns you are facing.

Community Discussion – Share Your Thoughts Here!

If you have struggled with epilepsy and an eating disorder, what resources were helpful for your recovery?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.


[1]:  Epilepsy Foundation, “Epilepsy Statistics”,

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 11, 2017
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