Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal and causes seizures or phases of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of consciousness. Any person can develop epilepsy. Epilepsy affects both men and women of all races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.
Epilepsy is affecting around 50 million people worldwide
Seizure symptoms can be very different. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs. A single seizure does not mean that you have epilepsy. At least two unprovoked seizures are usually necessary to diagnose epilepsy.
With drug treatment or sometimes surgery, the seizures can be controlled in the majority of people with epilepsy. For some people, lifelong treatment is necessary to control the seizures, but for others the seizures eventually disappear. Some children with epilepsy can grow beyond the disease as they get older.
What is epilepsy? “Seizures & You: Take Charge of the Storm Jr. (Grades K-5)”
Epilepsy co-existing with other neurodevelopmental conditions
In children with autism, there is a high incidence of epilepsy over childhood, with upper estimates of about 1.5% per year (in childhood), and with higher rates being especially driven by co-existing intellectual disability.
At least 20% of children with epilepsy have ADHD, compared to 7% of the general pediatric population. Reversely, children with ADHD have a higher than normal rate of EEG abnormalities (5% to 30% vs. 3.5% in the general population). In summary, epilepsy and abnormal EEG features are very common features of neurodevelopmental conditions and significantly impact outcome.