Forms of Epilepsy

Epilepsy Information 2012

Forms of Epilepsy

One of the most important areas that is still being actively studied today in medical science is one that pertains to understanding the many forms of epilepsy. This is because given the inherent complexity of the human brain, tracing the specific causes of epilepsy and subsequently recommending a mode of treatment requires that doctors understand the exact type of epilepsy they are observing. Any wrong diagnosis in the case of epilepsy can have lasting and unpleasant consequences on the patient, not the least of which is the continued suffering that they endure with each seizure. Thus, proper classification of the forms of epilepsy is immensely important in order to help patients get the right treatment option that they need.

Classifying the forms of epilepsy is accomplished in multiple ways but the most notable two are the location in the brain where the seizures originate and the manifestations that arise accompanying an episode. From here, doctors have managed to come up with two basic classifications that form the foundation of epilepsy diagnosis today:

Primary generalized seizures. These refer to seizures that do not originate from a specific location in the brain. These are predominantly characterized by a slew of electrical discharges resulting in the typical manifestation of seizures in the form of convulsions and generalized shaking.

Partial seizures. In contrast, these are those that can be traced to a specific area in the brain and lead to very specific symptoms that are easy to verify. For example, partial seizures may not result in convulsions and shaking but in more uncommon symptoms like loss of consciousness, a tingling feeling and temporary paralysis.

Diagnosing the specific forms of epilepsy in patients is important towards formulating the correct treatment option. For example, partial seizures affecting certain portions of the brain may suggest underlying structural damage caused by a prior accident. This may lead to recommendations that require surgery for complete treatment depending on whether the defect is visible through imaging techniques and if the risks are not severe enough as to pose further complications.

Beyond these classifications, doctors are also looking into further categorization of the many forms of epilepsy. Today, classifications can extend to such specific cases as infantile spasms and juvenile epilepsy, frontal lobe epilepsy, temporal lobe epilepsy, limbic epilepsy, and several others. The importance of these classifications and sub-classifications underscore the diverse demand for treatment options as these may be governed by different underlying mechanisms that will have to be addressed with different medications or different treatment methods.

If one has a family member that is showing symptoms of epilepsy, it is very important not to panic. Take the patient to a doctor that specializes in these conditions and allow them to rule out epilepsy, or where applicable, definitively identify which of the many forms of epilepsy this condition falls into. Early diagnosis is very important and can lead to significant improvements in the likelihood of a permanent cure. By being vigilant, composed, and observant, you are significantly improving a patient’s chance of cure, and bettering their lives by understanding that their condition has many options to keep it under control.

Our website, define epilepsy, has many other articles that will give you a more detailed look at different forms of epilepsy. Please feel free to browse through them and come back for another visit as we add other information regularly.