Epilepsy is akin to an electrical storm in the brain wherein the brain malfunctions and patient displays features that are related to the region of the brain having the abnormal electrical activity.

One of the common kinds is in which the patient loses consciousness, falls to the ground, has clenched teeth and violent abnormal movements of the limbs. Several other forms may be seen such as transient vacant spells, transient abnormal behavior.

Epileptic patients will require some tests such as a CT scan (also called CAT scan) or MRI and a EEG to determine the exact problem in the brain.

Epileptic patients often face a lot of discrimination in the society and in several cultures there is a stigma attached to the illness.

However like most illness as of today, epilepsy too can be treated well and epileptics can lead normal lives.

Besides medications there are several precautions and lifestyle modifications that are advised to patients.

In the past few years several other modalities of treatment have come up. Some of the notable ones are:

  • Vagal Nerve Stimulation - here a "Pacemaker" is implanted in the body that stimulates one of the nerves called Vagus nerve.
  • Epilepsy Surgery - If the area of abnormal electrical activity can be delineated well then the neurosurgeon can remove the area and one can expect a good relief from ones symptoms.
  • Ketogenic diet - This is a very special kind of diet that is very rich in fats and has been shown to be very useful in studies to not only reduce epileptic fits but also to improve the mentation of patients.

All said and done, most epileptic patients lead good quality lives along with controlled seizures. Fortunately, the proportion of patients that have inadequate control is shrinking and some day we neurologists hope that we will be able to control all the seizures in all the patients.

Here are few links of interest:

Epilepsy simplified

Epilepsy from Wikipedia (Quite Exhaustive)