Book review: Seizures and Epilepsy in Childhood: A Guide


Our Wellbeing Assistant, Jennifer Bell recently read a book called Seizures and Epilepsy in Childhood: A Guide by John M. Freeman M.D., Eileen P.G. Vining M.D. and Diana J. Pillas. She provides her thoughts on the book and how it can help parents and patients understand their condition better and accept it.

Epilepsy is a complex condition and, depending on seizure control, difficult to accept if you have recently been diagnosed.

A book that may help is “Seizures and Epilepsy in Childhood: A Guide” by John M. Freeman M.D., Eileen P.G. Vining M.D. and Diana J. Pillas.

It is a medical book but written with parents and patients in mind in order to help them understand their condition better and accept it.


Different aspects of childhood epilepsy

The book is separated into five parts, each of which discuss different aspects of childhood epilepsy in detail.

Part One: Why Do Seizures and Epilepsy Occur? Part one goes into detail about how the brain works when a person takes a seizure. This is helpful to understand what was going on inside the body and how it relates to the way the body reacts.

It also explains the many different types of seizure and how they are classified. This may help parents who may be struggling to understand what epilepsy is and what type of seizure their child has.

I thought the classification section was useful as I didn’t release there were so many categories of seizures.

Part Two: Diagnosing Seizures and Epilepsy explains the diagnosis process and what to do if the child takes a seizure. It also discusses some of the different causes of epilepsy though not all can be explained.

Having worked with people who have epilepsy, I always assumed if you take a seizure it meant you had epilepsy. This chapter highlighted that’s not always the case.

Part Three: Treating Seizures and Epilepsy discusses different anti-convulsant medication and their side effects as well as alternative treatments such as the Ketogenic Diet and surgeries.

I found this really helpful, as I gained a greater understanding of aura’s and build ups to seizures.


Coping with epilepsy

Part Four: Coping with Epilepsy helps the reader understand how to explain epilepsy to others and which circumstances they should tell someone if they/their child has epilepsy.

It also examines the difficulties epilepsy can bring such as disability and mental health.

Part Five: Living with Epilepsy discusses every aspect of the young person’s life which may be affected by their condition and how they can help.

Not every section of this chapter is useful as the authors are American so talk about insurance for medical treatment which isn’t used in Scotland.

Epilepsy Scotland can also help with our freephone helpline, if you have any questions or concerns.

Our youth groups are also available for young people to connect with others who have the same condition.

Contact Kirstyn Cameron on for our Edinburgh youth group or Shelby Johnston on for our Glasgow youth group.

The authors include photos of patients x-rays to help the reader to understand what is being discussed and testimonies to help them decide if they may take the advice being given in the book.

This also helps give a clearer understanding of what is being said as they may be able to relate to the testimony.

I think parents will find this book useful as it covers nearly all the different types of seizures and medication related to them.

I think they will feel less alone as the testimonies highlight that there are others out there who have been through the same experiences and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.