Epilepsy and Seizures
IntroductionWhat Is Epilepsy?
The word “epilepsy” comes from a Greek word meaning “to seize” or “to attack.” Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes seizures, and it is sometimes referred to as a seizure disorder. Seizures are considered a symptom of epilepsy, just as a sore throat may be considered a symptom of a cold. During a seizure, out-of-control brain cells are producing electricity that attacks normal brain cells and affects how you feel, think, or act. Epileptic seizures can vary in how long they last, how frequently they occur, and when they occur. Each person with epilepsy has a different seizure pattern.
If a person has seizures, he or she does not necessarily have epilepsy. Seizures can occur because of fever, drug withdrawal, a severe allergic reaction, or lack of oxygen to the brain, for example. These seizures are not considered epilepsy. Having a single seizure does not mean a person has epilepsy either. A person is considered to have epilepsy after having two or more seizures not caused by fever, illness, or any other medical reason.