Epilepsy is a type of disorder which is characterized by an urge for recurrent seizures. Drugs and medications are prescribed to control the seizures, if medications fail, surgery is considered the last resort. During a seizure there is a sudden flow of electrical activity inside the brain. This can cause disturbance in the brain cells. A person’s brain can become ‘mixed up’ or ‘halted’ during a seizure.
There are various types of seizures, and each seizure depends on the patient’s brain functioning.
Types of seizures:
- Idiopathic- There is no apparent cause for this form of epilepsy.
- Cryptogenic- During a cryptogenic seizure, the doctor suspects there is a cause behind it but he/she can’t pinpoint it.
- Symptomatic- During this type of seizure, the specialist knows what exactly the cause is.
Classification of seizures:
Partial seizure- There are usually two types of partial seizure:
- Simple partial seizure- During this type of seizure, the patient is conscious and is also aware of her/his surrounding.
- Complex partial seizure- During this form of seizure, the consciousness of the patient is impaired. The patient tends to forget the seizure, even if they are reminded of it, the recollection of this seizure is very vague.
Generalized seizure- This occurs when both the halves of the brain has epileptic activity going on. The consciousness of the person s generally lost during the seizure.
- Secondary generalized seizure- This type of seizure occurs when the epileptic activity stars to occur as a partial seizure and gradually spreads to both the halves of the brain. The atient looses consciousness as the development of the seizure progresses.
Sometimes other disorders and conditions are misdiagnosed as epilepsy. These conditions include:
- High fever which has symptoms similar to epilepsy.
- Narcolepsy (disrupted nocturnal sleep and continuous episodes of sleep during the daytime).
- Cataplexy (an attack characterized by extreme weakness due to an emotional response like anger, fear and surprise)
- Sleep disorders
- Panic attacks caused due to mental health disorders.
- Fugue states (this is a rare psychological disorder caused due to temporary amnesia)
- Psychogenic seizures (a behavior related to psychiatric disturbance like conversion disorder)
- Breath holding episodes which occurs when a child cries vigorously and then suddenly stops breathing for a few seconds. This is characterized by loss of consciousness and change in skin color.
Anti-epileptic drugs are prescribed to people who are diagnosed with epilepsy, to reduce the symptoms of epilepsy in the long run.