Epilepsy Program

Epilepsy Symptoms & Causes

Epileptic seizures can affect any process in the brain due to abnormal activity in brain cells. A seizure can produce temporary confusion, complete loss of consciousness, a staring spell, or uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs.

Symptoms vary depending on the type of seizure. In most cases, an individual with epilepsy will tend to have the same type of seizure each time, so the symptoms will be very similar from episode to episode, but some individuals have many different types of seizures, with different symptoms each time.

Doctors will classify seizures as either partial or generalized, based on how the abnormal brain activity begins. When seizures appear to result from abnormal activity in just one part of the brain, they are called partial or focal seizures. Seizures that seem to involve all of the brain are called generalized seizures. In some cases, seizures can begin in one part of the brain and then spread throughout the rest of the brain. Seizures may progress from partial to generalized.

Partial seizures

Generalized seizures

Generalized seizures involve epileptic activity in all or most of the brain.


A person may experience one or many different types of seizures. While in the majority of cases the exact cause of the seizure may not be known, some of the less common causes of seizures are:

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