If the word epilepsy fills you with fear, we don’t blame you. When you or someone you know has a seizure, it can look scary for sure. And what people don’t understand, they want to avoid. Most people do not understand this disease and like to stay blissfully ignorant of its causes and lifelong effects. Many myths surround epileptic people, the foremost being that they are mentally retarded or mentally challenged. This is entirely untrue! People with epilepsy or seizures suffer from a medical condition in which the neurons of the brain sometimes behave erratically, sending out incorrect signals at higher than normal speed, resulting in sudden jerking movements we normally call a seizure. This person has an otherwise normally functioning brain.
Causes of Epilepsy:
Many factors can make one an epileptic, most of them are neurological. However, some reasons are psychological and physical too:
- Abnormality in neuron functioning
- Malfunctioning of neurotransmitters
- Recent head injury
- Recent stroke
- Genetic abnormality
- Brain tumors
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Severe alcoholism
- Heart attack
- Viral encephalitis
- Neurocysticercosis – parasitic infection of the brain
- Cerebral palsy
- Oxygen deficiency in fetus
- Severe malnutrition during gestation
The list seems very foreboding and invokes fear of this medical condition. However, researchers are breaking new ground every day in the treatment and control of epilepsy, which is a source of courage to epilepsy sufferers. Modern medicine and treatments can help control many types of epilepsy and aid the patient in leading as normal a life as possible.
Common Symptoms of Epilepsy:
Different types of epilepsy affect different people in different manners. The symptoms vary from being very mild and barely noticeable to the very violent and sudden. All kinds of epilepsy, however, need medical attention and constant care.
- Poor alertness
- Tendency to stare blankly
- Sudden mood changes
- Sudden sensation (sudden smell or tingling)
- Sudden violent streaks
These symptoms occur during an epileptic attack and vanish when the attack is over. The person may or may not have another attack in the near future as epilepsy sometimes stays dormant for years before striking a person again.