Epilepsy, also called "seizure disorder," is a neurological disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness. 3.4 million people in the United States, or one in twenty-six people, have epilepsy.Because epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in the brain, seizures can affect any process your brain coordinates, and epilepsy symptoms can vary widely. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs. At least two unprovoked seizures are generally required for an epilepsy diagnosis; a single seizure does not mean one has epilepsy.
Treatment with medication and/ or surgery can control seizures for many people with epilepsy. Some people require lifelong treatment to control seizures, and for others the seizures eventually go away. One third of people with epilepsy live with uncontrolled seizures because no available treatment works for them.
Seizures can occur in childhood, including seizures from high fever. Children who have seizures due to high fevers generally won't develop epilepsy. The risk of epilepsy increases if a child has a long seizure, another nervous system condition, or a family history of epilepsy. Some children with epilepsy may outgrow the condition with age.
Having seizures and epilepsy can affect one's life in a variety of ways–including safety, relationships, work, driving. Public perception and treatment of people with epilepsy are often issues they must cope with, in addition to seizures.