Epilepsy may take many forms and just knowing that a person has `epilepsy’ gives very little useful information about that individual.

Epilepsy can broadly be divided into two categories, both producing a number of types of seizure.

Idiopathic Epilepsy

In this type, there is no clear environmental cause for the epilepsy and it is presumed that genetic factors predominate. There are usually no other handicaps and the EEG is often normal between seizures. The response to drug treatment is usually good.

Symptomatic Epilepsy

This usually develops as a result of some structural abnormality in the brain either present at birth or occurring later in life. Other disabilities may be caused by this same abnormality (physical, intellectual or psychiatric). EEG investigations may reveal the abnormality and the response to drug treatment is variable in different individuals.

Epilepsy-Flowchart (1)

Some individuals have cryptogenic epilepsy, which is epilepsy in which no cause can be found, but a cause is suspected. A number of investigations may provide additional information, although these tests do no make the diagnosis of epilepsy.

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