Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder characterized by repeated seizures. These seizures are a result of underlying brain damage and differ with the type of condition. It may consist of loss of consciousness, continuous jerking of different body parts, emotional explosions, or periods of mental confusion. Studies show that although epilepsy isn't inherited, tendency to the disorder is a hereditary trait responsible for some cases. In people suffering from epilepsy, the brain waves, which are displays of electrical activity in the cerebral cortex, have an abnormal rhythm made by excessive and consistent nerve-cell discharges. Recordings of brain waves are therefore important in diagnosis and study of the disease and are obtained by a device called the electroencephalograph. .5% of people in the world have epilepsy.
No specific cure for epilepsy exists, but seizures can be prevented or reduced in nearly 90 percent of patients by the use of drugs. The drugs used include Diphenylhydantoin, Phenobarbital, Carbamazepine, Ethosuximide, and Valproic acid. Seizures occur when cells release a large burst of electrical energy. Because epileptic seizures vary in intensity and symptoms, they are divided into three major types: grand mal, petit mal, psychomotor. Some symptoms of a grand mal attack are involuntary screams caused by contractions of respiratory muscles, loss of consciousness, spastic muscular contractions, a black and blue face, halted breathing, and an arched back. Afterwards, more muscle contractions can throw a body into violent agitation, and can result in injury. To prevent cheeks and tongue from being bitten during a seizure, put a folded handkerchief in the mouth. When it subsides, the person is exhausted and may sleep heavily. Fatigue and depression are!.
often experienced upon awakening, and sometimes the person has no memory of the seizure. .
Attacks can vary from as little as once a year to several times a day.