top of page

What is Epilepsy?


Epilepsy is a neurological condition where there is a tendency to have seizures that start in the brain. Not all seizures are due to epilepsy. Other conditions that can look like epilepsy include fainting or very low blood sugar which may happen in people being treated for diabetes. Anyone can develop epilepsy, at any time of life. It happens in people of all ages, races and social classes. Epilepsy is not just one condition, but a group of different kinds including different types of seizures. Just knowing that a person ‘has epilepsy’ does not tell you much about their epilepsy or the type of seizures they have.

Epilepsy Treatment

For some people whose epilepsy does not respond to AEDs, there may be other possible treatment options. These include the following.

  • medication called anti- epileptic drugs, this is the main and most popular treatment.

  • Epilepsy surgery (also called neurosurgery) may be possible for some people if tests show where in the brain the seizures are starting.

  • VNS (Vagus nerve stimulation) therapy aims to help regulate the brain’s normal electrical activity to reduce the number or severity of seizures. It is normally used alongside AEDs.

  • For some children, and adults, the ketogenic diet may help to reduce the number or severity of their seizures. The diet is a medical treatment, often started alongside AEDs, and is supervised by trained medical specialists and dietitians. Dietary treatments for adults are available on a limited basis in the UK.

Types of seizures

Seizures are divided into groups depending on where they start in the brain and whether or not the persons awareness if affected and other symptoms such as movement.

  • Focal onset seizures

  • Generalised onset seizures 

  • Clonic seizures

  • Absence seizures

  • Myoclonic seizures

  • Tonic seizures

  • Atonic seizures

Seizure Triggers

All seizure triggers are different for everyone for some people however in certain situations the most Common triggers include:

  • lack of sleep

  • stress and not feeling well

  • alcohol and

  • not taking their prescribed medications

  • monthly periods

Less common seizure triggers can be flashing lights, food and sensitivities 

It may be possible to avoid triggers if they can be identified

bottom of page