One seizure episode does not mean a person has epilepsy. When seizures occur frequently and become a consistent problem, however, the condition is called epilepsy. You can have a seizure without epilepsy, but you can’t have epilepsy without seizures.
Convulsions are a type of seizure that involves involuntary shaking and stiffening of the entire body. This means all convulsions are seizures but not all seizures are convulsions.
What causes seizures?
Seizures occur when the electrical activities in the brain turn abnormal and irregular. Everyone has a 10% chance of developing seizures in their lifetime, but that risk increases with a stroke or brain injury.
Seizures can be epileptic or nonepileptic. Causes of nonepileptic seizures include:
What causes epilepsy?
Epilepsy can be caused by:
- Head trauma
- Brain damage at birth
- Hypoxic brain damage (brain damage due to insufficient oxygen)
- Brain tumor
- Recreational drug use or withdrawal
- Alcohol use or withdrawal
- Brain infections
- Metabolic conditions due to defective genes
Sometimes, epilepsy may be idiopathic, which means there is no identifiable cause.
What are the symptoms of epilepsy?
If a person has epilepsy, they may have a constellation of symptoms called aura before epilepsy. This includes changes to thoughts, senses, or awareness. They may experience visual disturbances, strange smells, ringing or buzzing sounds, or anxiety.
Different types of seizures in epilepsy have different symptoms, which may include:
How are seizures treated?
A seizure episode is a medical emergency that may be treated with an intramuscular injection of midazolam (or any other suitable benzodiazepine) or even a nasal spray containing midazolam.
This will be followed by supportive measures that will try to prevent further seizures by controlling, stopping, or reducing the frequency of the episodes. Medications may be prescribed to treat the underlying cause. The choice of medication and treatment will be based on factors such as:
- Type of seizure
- Any potential side effects
These must be supplemented with certain lifestyle modifications.
What to do if someone has a seizure
Seizures need urgent medical care. If you notice someone experiencing a seizure, take the following steps:
- Do not panic and stay calm
- Take the person away from an environment that is likely to injure them
- Place a pillow or a rolled cloth under the person’s head
- Make the person lie on their side to prevent suffocation
- Do not put anything in the person’s mouth
How is epilepsy treated?
The doctor will first diagnose the type of epilepsy before initiating treatment. Treatment will also depend on:
- Frequency and severity of the seizures
- Overall health
- Medical history
Drug therapy is the primary treatment in most cases of epilepsy. The drugs prescribed depend on the type of seizures as well as the patient’s response. Many times, multiple drugs may be prescribed to control the episodes. Dietary changes may help as well. It’s important to avoid bright lights, sleep deprivation, and extreme stress.
- The Predicted 'Tripledemic' Is Here: Why Isn't There an RSV Vaccine?
- Frozen Stuffed Chicken Products & Microwave Ovens: A Recipe for Salmonella
- First FDA-Approved Fecal-Based Treatment Helps Fight a Tough Superbug
- Seizures Seem Tied to Faster Decline in People With Dementia
- Signs That COVID Infection Might Harm the Liver
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top How Do Seizures Differ From Epilepsy & Convulsion Related Articles
What Is the Difference Between a Seizure and a Convulsion?Learn what the main difference between a seizure and a convulsion is, and how to recognize and treat either condition.
Seizures QuizDo you know the difference between seizures and epilepsy? What are the types of seizures? Take the Epilepsy & Seizures Quiz to test your knowledge and learn about this complex disorder of the brain.
Epilepsy and Seizures: How to Treat?A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder where brain activities are abnormal, causing more than one or recurrent episodes of seizures. Most cases of seizures can be managed conservatively with medication and supportive treatments.
Epilepsy SlideshowLearn about epilepsy symptoms and treatment for this seizure condition. Discover the definition of epilepsy, how epilepsy is diagnosed, epilepsy medications, and how epilepsy dogs help people with seizures.
Epilepsy TreatmentEpileptic seizures mostly controlled through drug therapy, particularly anticonvulsant drugs. Types of treatment prescribed depends on several factors including the frequency and severity of the seizures as well as the person's age, overall health and medical history. Other forms of treatment options also exist including ketogenic diet and electrical stimulation.
What Is the First Aid for Seizures?Some seizures are caused by brain diseases, tumors, genetic conditions, or other illnesses or disorders that can be diagnosed (symptomatic seizures). When the cause for the seizures is unknown, they are referred to as idiopathic or cryptogenic seizures. If a person has a seizure, loosen the clothing around his/her neck and remove sharp objects around the person to prevent injury. After the seizure, lay the person on his/her side to maintain an open airway. If the seizure lasts more than five minutes or if the person cannot be awakened after the seizure, call 911. Learn common seizure triggers, including foods or medications, hormones, stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, or sensitivity to light.
Gabapentin vs. BaclofenGabapentin and baclofen are used off-label to treat nerve pain (neuralgia). Gabapentin is also an anti-seizure medication and treats nerve pain from shingles. Baclofen is a muscle relaxant used to treat pain caused by disorders such as multiple sclerosis. It is also injected into the spinal cord for management of severe spasticity.
How Successful Is Surgery for Epilepsy?Epilepsy surgery is a neurosurgical procedure to prevent or reduce the occurrence of epileptic seizures. Epilepsy surgery involves removal or surgical alteration of the part of the brain from which epileptic seizures originate. Success depends on the condition, procedure and severity of the epileptic condition; epilepsy covers many different seizure disorders.
lamotrigine, Lamictal, Lamictal CD, Lamictal ODT, Lamictal XRLamotrigine (Lamictal) is a drug used in combination with other anti-seizure drugs for the treatment of partial seizures, tonic-clonic seizures of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. It is also prescribed for individuals over the age of 18 for the prevention of mood episodes in individuals with bipolar disorder. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Seizure (Epilepsy)Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which the person has seizures. There are two kinds of seizures, focal and generalized. There are many causes of epilepsy. Treatment of epilepsy (seizures) depends upon the cause and type of seizures experienced.
Seizures Symptoms and TypesSeizures are divided into two categories: generalized and partial. Generalized seizures are produced by electrical impulses from throughout the brain, while partial seizures are produced by electrical impulses in a small part of the brain. Seizure symptoms include unconsciousness, convulsions, and muscle rigidity.
Surgical Options for EpilepsyEpilepsy is mostly treatable with medication, but this method is not effective for about 30% of patients. In some cases, brain surgery may be an option. Epilepsy surgery is an operation on the brain to control seizures and improve the person's quality of life.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) for Seizures
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a technique used to treat epilepsy. It involves implanting a pacemaker-like device that generates pulses of electricity to stimulate the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is one of the 12 cranial nerves, the paired nerves that attach to the undersurface of the brain and relay information to and from the brain.
What Are the Different Types of Seizures?A seizure is a sudden change in the brain's normal electrical activity. During a seizure, brain cells fire uncontrollably than their normal rate, temporarily affecting the way a person behaves, moves, thinks, or feels. Recurrent seizures are called epilepsy. Seizures are usually categorized into three types depending on their onset.
Can a Person With Epilepsy Live a Normal Life?Can a person with epilepsy live a normal life? What is epilepsy and what causes it? Learn the signs and symptoms of epilepsy, what causes it, how doctors diagnose it, and what you can do to treat it.
What Are the Risks of Epilepsy Surgery?Epilepsy surgery comes with the risk of tissue and nerve damage, meningitis infection, cerebrospinal fluid leakage, among others specific to each procedure. Epilepsy surgery is a neurosurgical procedure to prevent or reduce the occurrence of epileptic seizures. Epilepsy surgery involves removal or surgical alteration of the part of the brain which is the focal point for onset of seizures.