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What are the types of epilepsy?

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All types of epilepsy have seizures as a symptom. These are surges of electricity in your brain. They're like electrical storms that briefly stop your brain cells from working normally.

Experts divide epilepsy into types, based on the seizures you're having:

You could have generalized and focal epilepsy, if you have both kinds of seizures.

Sometimes, doctors are sure that a person has epilepsy, but they don't know whether the seizures are focal or generalized. This can happen if you were alone when you had seizures, so no one can describe what happened, or if your test results aren't clear.

Depending on the type of epilepsy you have, some treatments may work better than others.

  • Generalized epilepsy
  • Focal epilepsy

SOURCES:

Epilepsy Society: "What Is Epilepsy?"

UpToDate: "ILAE Classification of Seizures and Epilepsy."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Types of Epilepsy," "Seizures."

Epilepsy Foundation: "What Is a Seizure?" "2017 Revised Classification of Seizures," "Diagnosing Epilepsy," "Diagnosis 101: The Basics," "Types of Seizures," "Choosing a First Drug," "Surgery."

Massachusetts General Hospital: "Childhood Epilepsy: The Brain."

Epilepsia : "Operational classification of seizure types by the International League Against Epilepsy: Position Paper of the ILAE Commission for Classification and Terminology."

Reviewed by Christopher Melinosky on July 24, 2019

SOURCES:

Epilepsy Society: "What Is Epilepsy?"

UpToDate: "ILAE Classification of Seizures and Epilepsy."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Types of Epilepsy," "Seizures."

Epilepsy Foundation: "What Is a Seizure?" "2017 Revised Classification of Seizures," "Diagnosing Epilepsy," "Diagnosis 101: The Basics," "Types of Seizures," "Choosing a First Drug," "Surgery."

Massachusetts General Hospital: "Childhood Epilepsy: The Brain."

Epilepsia : "Operational classification of seizure types by the International League Against Epilepsy: Position Paper of the ILAE Commission for Classification and Terminology."

Reviewed by Christopher Melinosky on July 24, 2019

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What is generalized epilepsy?

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