Epilepsy is a physical condition characterized by sudden, brief changes in how the brain works. It is a symptom of a neurological disorder - a disorder that affects the brain and shows itself in the form of seizures.


When speaking about epilepsy, there are 2 types: Idiopathic generalized epilepsy and symptomatic partial epilepsy. Idiopathic generalized epilepsy refers to genetic causes, where the seizure occurs throughout the whole brain and affects the entire body. On the other hand, symptomatic refers to the cause due to widespread brain damage which occur in specific areas of the brain and may only affect part of one’s body.

Idiopathic generalized seizures:

Symptomatic partial seizures:

Treatments and Therapies:

Once there has been an accurate diagnosis of epilepsy made, treatment options can further looked into. Generally, doctors will begin treating epilepsy with medication. If the medication prescribed does not treat the condition, doctors may propose another type of treatment or surgery.

Medication. Individuals may become seizure-free after taking anti-epileptic medication. Others may be able to decrease the intensity and frequency of their seizures through a combination of medication.  Finding the appropriate medication is based on the individual’s condition, frequency of seizures, age and other factors. Anti-seizure medications can come with some side effects, ranging from mild to severe, such as:

Surgery. Surgery is most often done when tests show that seizures originate in a well-defined, small area of the brain which does not interfere with vital functions such as speech, motor skills, language, vision or hearing. In this case, the area of the brain causing the seizure will be removed. Seizures which originate in an area of the brain that does control vital functions may be performed while the individual is awake, so as to monitor them during the procedure. For seizures which originate in parts of the brain which cannot be removed, doctors may recommend other types of surgery where several cuts are made in the brain. These cuts are made so as to prevent seizures from spreading to other parts of the brain.

Therapies.  Vagus nerve stimulation is a process where the doctor implants a device called a “vagus nerve stimulator” underneath the skin of one’s chest. Wires from the stimulator are then connected to the vagus nerve in the neck. This device sends bursts of electrical energy through the vagus  nerve to the brain. This procedure can usually decrease seizures by 20 to 40 percent.


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