What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition marked by recurrent seizures. A seizure is typically characterized as a sudden shift in behavior caused by a brief disruption in the brain’s electrical functioning. The brain creates small electrical impulses in an organized sequence in normal circumstances. Chemical messengers called neurotransmitters carry these signals along neurons, the brain’s network of nerve cells, and throughout the body.

The electrical cycles of the brain become unbalanced in epilepsy, resulting in recurring seizures. The usual electrical pattern in patients with seizures is broken by abrupt and synchronized bursts of electrical energy that may alter their consciousness, movements, or sensations for a brief period of time.

Epilepsy is diagnosed when a person has experienced at least two seizures that were not caused by a known medical problem like alcohol withdrawal or extremely low blood sugar.

Signs & Symptoms

  • recurrent seizures
    • symptoms vary depending on type of seizure:
      • Temporary loss of awareness or consciousness.
      • Uncontrolled muscle movements, muscle jerking, loss of muscle tone.
      • Blank stare or “staring into space” look.
      • Temporary confusion, slowed thinking, problems with talking and understanding.
      • Changes in hearing, vision, taste, smell, and feelings of numbness or tingling.
      • Problems talking or understanding.
      • Upset stomach, waves of heat or cold, goosebumps.
      • Lip-smacking, chewing motion, rubbing hands, finger motions.
      • Psychic symptoms, including fear, dread, anxiety, or déjà vu.
      • Faster heart rate and/or breathing.