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What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is currently defined as a tendency to have recurrent seizures (sometimes called fits). It is a neurological disorder and there is often no known cause.

A seizure is caused by a sudden burst of excess electrical activity in the brain, causing a temporary disruption in the normal message passing between brain cells. This disruption results in the brain’s messages becoming halted or mixed up.


The diagnosis of epilepsy is mainly based on the description of the seizure given by the person themselves and any eye witness accounts. At the moment, there is no single test available that can say if someone does or does not have epilepsy.

Because there are so many different seizure types and symptoms, epilepsy can be a difficult condition to diagnose. It is important for doctors to know what type of seizure a person has, so they can decide on the most suitable course of treatment. This is why it is so helpful to keep a diary and even take a video, when someone has a seizure.