What is epilepsy?

Someone who has epilepsy often has recurrent seizures (fits).

A seizure is a brief disruption of the brain's normal electrical activity leading to a variety of symptoms. The symptoms experienced by the person with epilepsy during a seizure depend on where in the brain the abnormal electrical activity occurs.

Although there are different types of seizures, people with epilepsy normally only experience one or two different kinds. The person's seizures are often exactly the same each time they occur.

Seizures may induce unusual sensations, movements or behaviours without full loss of consciousness or the person may black out, fall, and jerk violently.

Could these attacks be anything else?

Some of these symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions, including fainting or as a result of anxiety.

Who could develop epilepsy?

Epilepsy is the most common serious medical condition affecting the brain. It can also affect anyone at any time.

How is epilepsy diagnosed?

There is no single test to diagnose epilepsy.

Epilepsy can often be confirmed from the description of the seizure, best provided by a witness, and the patient's medical history and examination of their nervous system. Find out more about the tests and investigations we do to find out if you have epilepsy.

There are many misconceptions about epilepsy and although some people do have some difficulties because of their seizures, most people with epilepsy live normal lives. The Wessex neurological centre supports patients in achieving this.