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Epilepsy, affecting around 1% of the global population, is a neurological disorder with over 125 million individuals estimated to be living with epilepsy in India alone. It is essential to dispel misconceptions—it is not a mental illness, nor is it contagious. Epilepsy manifests through recurrent, unprovoked seizures, and even a single seizure can be attributed to treatable factors such as low sugar or sodium levels.

Seizure Episodes

Seizure episodes result from abnormal electrical discharges in specific brain cells. These episodes, characterized by involuntary movements, can be partial (involving a part of the body) or generalized (involving the entire body). They may include loss of consciousness and control of bowel or bladder function. Seizures vary widely, from momentary lapses to prolonged convulsions, depending on their origin in the brain. Frequency ranges from infrequent episodes to multiple seizures daily.


Epilepsy can stem from diverse causes like stroke, head injury, brain infection, tumors, and more. A thorough history and specific investigations, including blood tests, EEG (electroencephalogram), and imaging scans (CT or MRI), help diagnose seizures and identify epilepsy syndromes. Normal results do not negate the reality of seizures or the presence of epilepsy.


Medication stands as the primary method for seizure control, typically the initial therapy. Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) come in various types, chosen based on factors like seizure type, age, gender, coexisting illnesses, and potential side effects. AEDs effectively control seizures in approximately 70% of individuals with epilepsy. It is crucial not to alter or discontinue medication without consulting a doctor. AEDs may be required for 3-5 years or more.

Additional Information

Epilepsy Awareness

In cases where a patient experiences two or more seizures annually, despite using multiple tolerated AEDs, they are deemed to have “drug-resistant” epilepsy. Additional treatment options include a specialized diet (ketogenic), brain surgery, or brain stimulation.

Understanding and managing epilepsy involve collaborative efforts between patients and healthcare providers. Regular consultations, adherence to prescribed treatments, and awareness play pivotal roles in improving the quality of life for individuals living with epilepsy.

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