Major types of Epilepsy

Types of Epilepsy

Types of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. It affects the brain’s electrical activity, causing sudden and uncontrolled bursts of abnormal brain activity.

The type of epilepsy depends upon the part/s of brain affected by this neurological disorder. Have a look at various parts of the brain to understand this better-

Anatomy of brain to know focus of epilepsy
Image source-FreePik. Designed on Canva Pro

However, a broad and new classification is shown in the picture below-

Image source

These seizures can vary in-

  • intensity and duration,
    • ranging from brief moments of altered consciousness to
    • full-body convulsions.

Depending upon the above mentioned features, these are the differenttypes of epilepsy-

Focal seizures:

These seizures originate in a specific area of the brain and can cause a wide range of symptoms depending on the part of the brain affected. Examples include-

  • focal aware seizures (previously called simple partial seizures) where the person remains conscious and
  • focal impaired awareness seizures (previously called complex partial seizures) where the person may experience altered consciousness or confusion.

Generalized seizures:

These seizures involve both sides of the brain from the beginning and typically result in loss of consciousness. Examples include-

  • generalized tonic-clonic seizures(previously called grand mal seizures) where the person experiences muscle stiffening and shaking,
  • absence seizures (previously called petit mal seizures) where the person briefly loses awareness and may exhibit staring, and
  • atonic seizures (also known as drop attacks) where the person suddenly loses muscle tone and may collapse.

Absence seizures:

These seizures are characterized by a brief loss of awareness and are more common in children. The person may appear to be staring into space and may not remember the episode afterwards.

Myoclonic seizures:

These seizures involve sudden, brief muscle twitches or jerks that can affect one or both sides of the body. They often occur in the morning or during sleep.

Atonic seizures:

These seizures result in a sudden loss of muscle tone, causing the person to collapse or drop their head. They are sometimes referred to as “drop attacks” because of the sudden loss of muscle control.

Tonic seizures:

These seizures cause stiffening of the muscles, usually in the arms, legs, or back. The person may fall, drop things, or have difficulty breathing during the seizure.

Infantile spasms:

These seizures typically occur in children under the age of one and consist of a sudden bending forward or backward movement of the body. They may be accompanied by a brief loss of consciousness and can be challenging to diagnose.

Photosensitive seizures:

These seizures are triggered by flashing or flickering lights, such as those from television screens, video games, or strobe lights.

Reflex seizures:

These seizures are triggered by specific stimuli, such as certain sounds, sights, or smells. Common triggers include loud noises, bright lights, or certain patterns.

Febrile seizures:

These occur mostly in cases of high fever due to any cause.