The person may stare into space for several seconds and may have some twitching or mild jerking of muscles.
Epilepsy can be caused by different conditions that affect a person’s brain. Many times the cause is unknown. Some causes include:
- Brain tumor.
- Traumatic brain injury or head injury.
- Central nervous system infections such as parasitic infections (malaria, neurocysticercosis), viruses (influenza, dengue, Zika), and bacteria.
- Loss of oxygen to the brain (for example, during birth).
- Some genetic disorders (such as Down syndrome).
- Other neurologic diseases (such as Alzheimer’s disease).
Diagnosis is usually through clinical history, physical examination and EEG, CT or MRI scan to rule out space occupying lesion and or stroke.
The most common treatments for epilepsy are:
- Anti-seizure medications work for about 2 in 3 people with epilepsy.
- Surgery. When seizures come from a single area of the brain (focal seizures), surgery to remove that area may stop future seizures or make them easier to control with medicine. Epilepsy surgery is mostly used when the seizure focus is located in the temporal lobe of the brain.
- Other treatments. When medicines do not work and surgery is not possible, other treatments can help. These include vagus nerve stimulation, where an electrical device is placed, or implanted, under the skin on the upper chest to send signals to a large nerve in the neck. Another option is the ketogenic diet, a high fat, low carbohydrate diet with limited calories.
It is also referred to as petit mal.