What It Is

Epilepsy is a spectrum of brain disorders ranging from very mild or benign to disabling and life-threatening.  

Epilepsy occurs when nerve cells in the brain fire electrical impulses at a rate of up to four times higher than normal. This causes a sort of electrical storm in the brain, known as a seizure. A pattern of repeated seizures (two or more) is referred to as epilepsy. Having a single seizure as the result of a high fever (called febrile seizure) or head injury does not necessarily mean that a person has epilepsy. 

In about half of all cases no cause can be found, but the other half can be the result of many possible causes including head injuries, brain tumors, lead poisoning, problems in brain development before birth, and certain genetic and infectious illnesses. 

Symptoms

Seizures - A seizure occurs when the normal pattern is interrupted by sudden and unusually intense bursts of electrical energy which may cause strange sensations, emotions, behaviors or convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. These unusual bursts are called seizures.

Treatments & Therapies

There is no cure for epilepsy but about 70% of patients are successfully treated with medication to treat seizures.  

According to the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke, 

While epilepsy cannot be cured, for some people the seizures can be controlled with medication, diet, devices, and/or surgery. Most seizures do not cause brain damage, but ongoing uncontrolled seizures may cause brain damage. It is not uncommon for people with epilepsy, especially children, to develop behavioral and emotional problems in conjunction with seizures. Issues may also arise as a result of the stigma attached to having epilepsy, which can led to embarrassment and frustration or bullying, teasing, or avoidance in school and other social settings. For many people with epilepsy, the risk of seizures restricts their independence (some states refuse drivers licenses to people with epilepsy) and recreational activities. 

Epilepsy can be a life-threatening condition. Some people with epilepsy are at special risk for abnormally prolonged seizures or sudden unexplained death in epilepsy.




  • The description of this disease is provided courtesy of CURE Epilepsy, the NIH, and other sources.

  • The information provided on this web site should NOT be used as a substitute for seeking professional medical diagnosis, treatment or care. You should not rely on any information in these pages to replace consultations with qualified health professionals.