Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I drive?

People with dissociative seizures have to report their illness to the DVLA (Driving and Vehicle Licencing Authority).

Typically, people who experience symptoms that may lead to an altered ability to drive, are deemed not fit to drive by the DVLA, until their symptoms have resolved for specified durations of time.

In people with dissociative seizures, symptoms such as altered awareness and consciousness, loss of control of arms and legs, tremor, altered vision and blank spells would typically be considered to affect the ability to drive safely.

However, if the dissociative seizures do resolve, then a person may be able to resume driving.

All decisions on driving licences are made by the medical panel of the DVLA. The medical panel of the DVLA typically requests information from patients and doctors before making their decisions on fitness to drive.

Can I work?

Employers are under the obligation to set reasonable accommodations to support you in the work place. It is against the law for employers to discriminate against you because of a disability or illness.

Employers can ask you about your illness to ensure you’re able to carry out the job safely, for example if you have dissociative seizures that come on without warning, it may not be possible to work in a place where you need to operate heavy machinery.

Can I study?

Schools, colleges and universities offer support and additional help to students with disabilities or illnesses including dissociative seizures. They usually have an assigned person to support people with disabilities and illnesses during education. This assigned person is your go-to person to discuss and concerns regarding your disability or illness and education. Every school, college and university is different, so have a conversation with them to find out exactly what supports are available.

What do I tell friends and family?

It can be difficult explaining dissociative seizures to family and friends who may have never heard of it and can be especially challenging due to the nature of the illness.

A useful way to open up the conversation is telling them that you have events where you may shake, lose consciousness or fall to the floor but this is not caused by epilepsy. Instead, the dissociative seizures are caused by other factors that don’t need medical intervention and are not dangerous in itself. Instead, treatment involves psychotherapy and self-management techniques.

Directing friends and family to this app can be useful in assisting their understanding and informing them how to help you.

How do I explain it to my children?

A helpful way to explain your dissociative seizures is to tell your children you may sometimes shake, lose consciousness or fall to the floor however, when this happens, you’re not in danger and to not worry.

It may be useful to inform them that they can help you during an attack by placing a pillow under your head, to step back and offer reassurance by saying things like “you’ll be okay” and “you’re safe”.

What should I do if a dissociative seizures lasts a long time?

If a dissociative seizure lasts for a long time, it rarely requires emergency medical attention. Having a seizure that lasts for more than five minutes does not mean it is an epileptic seizure. In fact, it is more likely a dissociative seizure as they go on a longer time than epileptic seizures. It is not harmful and won’t do any damage to the brain.

Can I still receive benefits?

If you have received benefits because of your seizures, this should not change based on a diagnosis of dissociative seizures. It is still disabling and very real.