epilepsy is one of the most common neurological
disorders involving the
nervous system, experts often cannot explain exactly
how or why the disease develops and how or why the abnormal electrical activity
in the brain occurs. Epilepsy does not always follow a predictable course. It
can develop at any age and may get worse over time or get better.
Although uncommon, epilepsy that begins in a specific area of the brain
may eventually affect another part of the brain. Some types of childhood
epilepsy disappear after the child reaches the teenage years. Other types may
continue for life. Epilepsy that started after a head injury may disappear
after several years or may last the rest of your life.
To diagnose epilepsy, your doctor will take a detailed medical history (including a family history of seizures), gather information about your behavior before, during, and after the episode, and do a physical exam. Make sure someone who witnessed the seizure goes to the doctor with you.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) -- a brain wave study -- can reveal abnormal brain waves characteristic of epilepsy. Keeping someone awake for 24 hours (sleep deprivation) increases the chances of finding abnormalities...
There is no
cure for epilepsy. But treatment can control
epileptic seizures, sometimes preventing them from
ever occurring again.
Quality of life
Epilepsy and uncontrolled seizures
can put limitations on your independence, self-esteem, and quality of life.
With epilepsy, you may have trouble getting or keeping a driver's
license. If you become pregnant, complications can occur. Your career choices
may be limited. Some people with epilepsy face discrimination at work or school
due to other people's fears and misconceptions about this condition.
news is that proper treatment may allow you to control seizures, which can lead
to improved quality of life and allow you to better cope with the
Finding out you have epilepsy can be hard. You may
not be able to do some of the things you used to take for granted (such as
driving a car). Epilepsy is also a disease that can be hard to treat for some
people, especially at first. You may need to try many different types of
medicines before you find one that works just right. All of these things may
make you feel sad or angry. It may help you to talk to a
counselor if you are feeling bad about having
Concerns about mental health or intelligence
Epilepsy does not cause and is not a form of mental illness. And in general it does not affect your ability to think and learn. Most people with
epilepsy have normal intelligence. Children with epilepsy may have a hard time performing in school, but this is usually not the result of below-normal
absence seizures, for instance, may explain why a
child seems to "zone out" or not pay attention during class. Some medicines
used to control seizures may affect a child's ability to stay focused at