What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a group of related disorders causing recurrent, sometimes frequent seizures. A seizure is an abnormal movement or behavior caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Your child will be diagnosed with epilepsy if he/she has more than one seizure. Epilepsy can be controlled in 70 to 80 percent of children by use of medication alone.

What are the causes?

  • Abnormal electrical activity in the brain Only about 30% of epilepsy cases have a clear cause. Some of the causes can be:
  • low oxygen during birth
  • head injuries that occur during birth or from accidents during youth or adulthood
  • brain tumors
  • genetic conditions that result in brain injury, such as tuberous sclerosis
  • infections such as meningitis or encephalitis
  • stroke or any other type of damage to the brain
  • abnormal levels of substances such as sodium or blood sugar

What can I do?

  • Make sure your child understands his or her disease
  • Understand medication schedules and what to do if your child accidentally forgets a dose of medicine
  • Monitor your child when he/she is around water – swimming, bathing, etc.
  • Inform teachers, coaches, other family members of your child’s diagnosis


It is important to remember the health information found on this Web site is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your health care provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a true medical emergency, call 911 immediately.


  • Generalized Seizures (Grand Mal) – all parts of the brain are involved
  • Partial or Focal Seizures – only a part of the brain is involved
  • Absence Seizures (Petit Mal) – most common in childhood
  • Seizures are the only visible symptom of epilepsy.
  • Seizures can be caused by:
  • Missing medication doses
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Drug use
  • Lack of sleep
  • Other medicines that interfere with seizure medications