About This Condition
Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which abnormal bursts of electrical activity occur in cells of the brain, resulting in seizures.
There are many types of epilepsy, usually categorized by the symptoms that occur during seizures. The cause of many types of epilepsy is unknown, and frequently no cure is available. Rather, treatment focuses on reducing the frequency and severity of seizures.
There are many types of seizures in epilepsy. They are categorized as either partial or generalized, depending on how much of the brain is involved. Some types of epilepsy involve seizures characterized by convulsive muscle contractions of all or some parts of the body. Other types can involve momentary loss of consciousness, amnesia, unusual sensations or emotions, and other symptoms. Symptoms that indicate an imminent seizure (called auras) may occur. Similarly, non-convulsive symptoms, including deep sleep, headache, confusion, and muscle soreness (called a postictal state), may follow a generalized seizure.
About 10 to 20% of epilepsy patients do not respond to drug therapy and may require surgery.