Epilepsy Awareness Program - Types of Epilepsy


Is a nervous disorder which affects the brain. It is a disorder in which clusters of nerve cells function abnormally sending out wrong signals which causes the body to function strangely. These abnormal functions of the body are the common symptoms of epilepsy.

It is very difficult to establish concrete causes of epilepsy in many people as they vary for the different types of epilepsy and a good understanding of these causes of epilepsy would help in getting a better idea of the various Types of epilepsy and the treatment required.

Classification of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is classified in five ways:

*- First cause (or etiology).
*- Semiology or the observable manifestations of the seizures.
*- The location in the brain where the seizures originate.
*- Identifiable medical syndromes.
*- The event that triggers the seizures, as in primary reading epilepsy or musicogenic epilepsy.

symptoms of Epilepsy

People usually think that epilepsy manifests only through motor (muscle) symptoms such as jerks. In fact, epilepsy has a wide range of symptoms, which can be broadly grouped into three types:

Motor symptoms, such as limb shaking or weakness.
Sensory symptoms, such as numbness, electrical shocklike sensation over a specific area.
Mental symptoms, such as fear, confusion, visual and auditory hallucinations.

Types of Epilepsy


Just as there are many different types of seizures, there are many different types of epilepsy syndromes. Each epilepsy syndrome has a specific set of symptoms. Doctors have identified different forms of epilepsy syndromes or disorders characterized by a certain set or pattern of symptoms, which could also include hereditary factors. However, there are some syndromes which are yet unknown.
An epilepsy syndrome is defined by a number of features put together. It is important to consider the age at which a seizure begins, and the symptoms that appear during a seizure, if there are people in the family who get similar seizures, the time of getting seizures, if it follows a particular pattern, the prospects of recovery and other health disorders if any.

Epilepsy may be of many types. The area of the brain from where the seizure starts and its ability to spread to other parts can further define the type of epilepsy.
There are hundreds of epilepsy syndromes, many of them very rare. These syndromes are often named for their symptoms or for the part of the brain where they originate.

Some of the most common types of epilepsy are:

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy: Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most frequent cause of partial seizures and aura. The temporal lobe is located close to the ear. It is the part of the brain where smell is processed and where the choice is made to express a thought or remain silent. TLE often begins in childhood. Repeated TLE seizures can damage the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is important for memory and learning. Although the damage progresses very slowly, it is important to treat TLE as early as possible.

Frontal Lobe Epilepsy: The frontal lobes of the brain lie behind the forehead. They are the largest of the five lobes and are thought to be the centers that control personality and higher thought processes, including language and speech. Frontal lobe epilepsy causes a cluster of short seizures that start and stop suddenly. The symptoms depend upon the part of the frontal lobe affected.

Parietal Lobe Epilepsy: The parietal lobe lies between the frontal and temporal lobes. Parietal lobe epilepsy is similar to other types in part because parietal lobe seizures tend to spread to other areas of the brain.

Occipital Lobe Epilepsy: The occipital lobe lies at the back of the skull. Occipital lobe epilepsy is like frontal and temporal lobe epilepsies, except that the seizures usually begin with visual hallucinations, rapid blinking, and other symptoms related to the eyes.

Progressive Myoclonic Epilepsy: Progressive myoclonic epilepsies are rare and frequently result from hereditary metabolic disorders. They feature a combination of myoclonic and tonic-clonic seizures. Unsteadiness, muscle rigidity, and mental deterioration are often also present.

Primary Generalized Epiliepy (PGE), also called Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsy (IGE): it is an epilepsy syndrome of idiopathic or unknown cause. An idiopathic disease is a “primary” or “intrinsic” disorder that cannot be attributed to a known underlying condition. So, while other types of epilepsy may be caused by a brain tumor, stroke, or other neurological disorder, idiopathic epilepsy is a primary brain disorder of unknown cause.

Idiopathic Partial Epiliepy: It is Epilepsy with unknown or idiopathic cause.
An idiopathic disease is a disorder that cannot be attributed to a known underlying condition.

Symptomatic Generalized Epilepsy (SGE): refers to epilepsy syndromes in which the majority of seizures are generalized, but partial onset seizures can also occur.

Reflex Epilepsy: In Reflex Epilepsy, seizures are triggered by specific stimuli in the environment. This is called “photosensitive epilepsy”, which usually begins in childhood and is often outgrown by adulthood. Other environmental triggers in reflex epilepsy include sounds.

Absence Epilepsy: Momentary loss of consciousness along with repeated absence seizures are a few symptoms of absence epilepsy. These seizures almost always run in families and begin in early childhood. Some people suffering from the absence epilepsy seizure have random movements which are purposeless and repeatedly blink their eyes or even jerk their arms. However, in most cases, this type of epilepsy disappears as the child reaches the puberty stage. These types of seizures in absence epilepsy do not hamper the growth of a child and do not affect the child’s intelligence.


In Children, there are also Epilepsy Syndromes which can be as:

* Febrile Seizures
* Benign Rolandic Epilepsy
* Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy
* Infantile Spasms
* Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
* Childhood Absence Epilepsy
* Benign Occipital Epilepsy
* Mitochondrial Disorders
* Landau-Kleffner Syndrome
* Rasmussen Syndrome
* Hypothalamic Hamartoma & Epilepsy



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See Also: See Also: Epilepsy Diagnosis on the Clinical Practic

See Also: Neurophysiology Health Corner

Back to: Epilepsy Awareness Program

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