Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder (neurological disorder) in which the nerve cell activity in your brain is disturbed, causing a seizure during which you experience abnormal behavior, symptoms and sensations, including loss of consciousness.

Seizure symptoms vary. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs.

The seizures occur because of a sudden change of electrical activity in the brain - there is an overload of electrical activity in the brain. This causes a temporary disturbance in the messaging systems between brain cells. During a seizure the patient's brain becomes "halted" or "mixed up"

Types of seizures

There are three descriptions of seizures, depending on what part of the brain the epileptic activity started:

  • Partial seizure - this means the epileptic activity took place in just part of the patient's brain. There are two types of Partial Seizures:
    • Simple Partial Seizure - the patient is conscious during the seizure. In most cases the patient is also aware of his/her surroundings, even though the seizure is in progress.
    • Complex Partial Seizure the patient's consciousness is impaired. The patient will generally not remember the seizure, and if he/she does, the recollection of it will be vague.

Generalized Seizure - both halves of the brain have epileptic activity. The patient's consciousness is lost while the seizure is in progress.

Secondary Generalized Seizure - the epileptic activity started as a partial seizure, but then it spread to both halves of the brain. As this development happens, the patient loses consciousness.