A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It can cause changes in your behavior, movements or feelings, and in levels of consciousness. If you have two or more seizures or a tendency to have recurrent seizures, you have epilepsy.
There are many types of seizures, which range in severity. Seizure types vary by where and how they begin in the brain. Most seizures last from 30 seconds to two minutes. A seizure that lasts longer than five minutes is a medical emergency.
Seizures are more common than you might think. Seizures can happen after a stroke, a closed head injury, an infection such as meningitis or another illness. Many times, though, the cause of a seizure is unknown.
Not everyone who has one seizure will have another one, and because a seizure can be an isolated incident, your doctor may not decide to start treatment until you've had more than one.
The optimal goal in seizure treatment is to find the best possible therapy to stop seizures, with the fewest side effects.
Treatment for seizures often involves the use of anti-seizure medications. Several options exist for anti-seizure medications. The goal is to find the medicine that works best for you and that causes the fewest side effects.
If anti-seizure medications aren't effective, other treatments may be an option. This may include surgery, vagus nerve stimulation, responsive neurostimulation, deep brain stimulation, or dietary therapy.
Most seizure disorders can be controlled with medication, but management of seizures can still have a significant impact on your daily life. The good news is you can work with your health care professional to balance seizure control and medication side effects.