What Causes Epileptic Seizures

Epilepsy Information 2012

What Causes Epileptic Seizures

The question “what causes epileptic seizures” is one that doctors have been trying to answer for years now. Despite the recent advancements in medical science, the definitive causes of epilepsy remain to be a mystery that has yet to find definitive resolution in medical circles. Current diagnostic methods to identify epilepsy causes rely on measuring brain activity during an episode combined with imaging techniques to find structural damage in the brain but thus far, these prove to be inadequate.

Still, current medical data on what causes epileptic seizures have identified theories that are known to be closely linked to the diagnosis of epilepsy in patients. The following paragraphs lists these theories based on the age of the patient for which these theories are most prevalent:

Developmental causes due to neonatal deficiencies and extending to early infancy. These refer to the causes of epileptic seizures that are present at the time of fetal development and can lead to structural damage in the developing brain. Common examples include trauma, congenital abnormalities, infections and metabolic disorders that are due to genetic causes.

In the late stages of infancy and heading into early childhood, most causes of epilepsy are primarily traced to infections and trauma. At this stage, the brain should have already fully developed and structural abnormalities are less likely culprits of febrile seizures. Doctors have also observed a strong correlation between what causes epileptic seizures in infancy and early childhood. What causes epileptic seizures in infancy are often carried over to early childhood even without additional triggers like trauma.

Epilepsy in adolescence can also trace many of its causes to childhood-related triggers but alcohol and drug abuse present a new perspective to many of the cases being observed. Substance abuse and withdrawal can severely alter brain chemistry in adolescence and are expected to cause benign seizures until the imbalance is duly corrected. In extreme cases, the seizures transition from being benign to being serious medical concerns requiring immediate attention.

In adults, brain diseases are the most common cause for epileptic seizures. Tumors and other cerebrovascular disease that affect the brain’s developed structures can lead to epileptic episodes. Trauma via accidents or sporting injuries is also prevalent in many who live an active lifestyle.

It is widely known that what causes epileptic seizures in turn dictate the prescribed diagnostic and treatment options for most patients. Therapy and medication are the most common approach to treating epilepsy, especially those that do not have a physically identifiable cause. In cases where a physical deformity is obvious, brain surgery may be prescribed depending on the results of the detailed analysis.

The study of what causes epileptic seizures remains to be a vibrant and promising field in medical science as doctors scramble to improve our understanding of epilepsy and all its inherent manifestations. As our understanding of human anatomy continues to evolve, the hope is that medicine can find more targeted solutions to diagnosing and treating epileptic conditions spanning a wide range of potential causes. Certainly, we are nowhere near that capability right now, but science is not resting and with many advances paving the way for more discoveries and a better understanding of the way the brain works, doctors are confident it will only take time to get there. These are exciting times for the study of epilepsy and one that is surely guaranteed to pave the way for better treatment options in the future.