Causes of Epilepsy Seizures

Epilepsy Information 2012

Causes of Epilepsy Seizures

Regardless of the sheer number of types of seizures that we know today, there are actually only a few known causes of epilepsy seizures that can help explain the origin of the condition. As such, diagnosing any particular condition often boils down to finding the specific cause. From there, doctors have a higher likelihood of proposing more effective measures as opposed to not having any specific clue as to why the condition is manifesting in a specific patient.

To give more meaning and value to this, let us take a look at the known causes of epilepsy seizures and from there discuss the prospective treatment options that may follow after diagnosis.

Trauma. Any incident that subjects a patient to violent impacts that affect the brain can be a cause for epilepsy seizures. In adults, this is typically classified as a concussion and often manifests without the typical symptoms of convulsions that we have come to associate with epilepsy. Seizures, by definition, have multiple manifestations not restricted to convulsions and many of these can arise from trauma which causes damage to brain structures. In the case of children, the damage may become permanent while in adults, the likelihood that the brain heals itself is much higher.

Congenital defects. Congenital defects are abnormalities that happen when the fetus is still developing in the mother’s womb. Trauma to the mother can also be a cause for congenital defects but more often, the typical culprits include drug abuse, excessive medication, or genetic abnormalities. Defects of this nature are often permanent and manifest as structural deformities in the patient’s brain visible during an image scan.

Electrical disruptions with no known structural abnormalities. Sometimes, there are cases when the electrical signals that power the brain are obviously disrupted but there are no visible structural defects to cause the problem. These types of epilepsies are much harder to diagnose and treat.

Conditions when the causes of epilepsy seizures are not known. This refers to the small percentage of unique cases where imaging, medical histories, and patient profiles reveal nothing about the likely cause of the condition. In some cases, the symptoms naturally disappear as a child gets older but in a few cases, the symptoms may persist long into the life of a patient with no known identifiable treatment option to eliminate it altogether.

Treatment options revolve around known medications that help the patient’s brain process electrical signals in a more natural manner. The FDA has approved more than a few drugs that are known to work in this manner. In the case of conditions where there are known structural abnormalities, doctors must decide whether the risk of a lobotomy outweighs the potential benefits. Brain surgery is often not an immediate option owing to the stakes involved but there are several known cases where the epilepsy seizures disappeared after surgery without leaving behind any side effects.

In conclusion, the list of causes of epilepsy seizures may be short but the complexity of the condition means treatment remains difficult. One can only hope that a specific condition responds to treatment plans and in the process alleviate the symptoms in order to restore a sense of normalcy to a patient’s life. In that regard, medical science is making strides in putting the issue to rest; only time will tell if epileptic seizures can truly be fully eliminated by future diagnostic and treatment options.