Epilepsy is a very serious illness that all should be aware of. Although most are treatable by medicine we must know what the person feels when they are going through this ordeal. We must also know when a person is going to have a seizure so that we can give the proper help need in case of a medical emergancy. Although it isnot life threatening it can be scary, not only for those we are watching, but for the epileptic themselves.
When we talk about seizures we mean there is an unorganized discharge of electricity in the brain from many nerve cells (Svoboda, 1979). This activity normally happens in the cerebral cortex, or the top layers of nerves of the crebrum. To maintain conscious control over on's self there has to be some kind of organized activity in the brain.
Epilepsy comes from the Greek word meaning "to seize upon." Another meaning fromthe Greek word is "to be grabbed hold of or thrown down; to attack; to seie hold of" (Svoboda, 1979, P.3). Schneider and Conrad (1983) say, "when someone is 'seized' by a convulsion, he or she typically falls to the ground, displays contorted bodily movements, makes grunting noises, salivates uncontrollably and loses consciousness." (p. 23). "Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "If I wished to show a student the difficulties of getting a truth from medical experience I would give them the history of epilepsy to read (quoted in Lennox and Lennox, 1960: 12).".
When a person is having a seizure, he or she may experience not only a loss of consciousness, but sensation, strength, and coordination; these seizure can affect the epileptic in all degrees, such as only staring or going into a Grand Mal seizure (Lechtenburg, 1984). Another word used for seizures is a "force"; all different things have described this force. Some of these things have been related to religious factors of that particular time. It has been related to the Devil, to other "gods", spirits or another realm, and an imbalance of bodily fluids such as phlegm, blood, and water.