Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by recurrent, unprovoked epileptic seizures caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Understanding the various aspects of epilepsy can significantly enhance management and quality of life for those affected.

Types of Epileptic Seizures

  • Focal Seizures: Originate in one area of the brain and can cause motor, sensory, or autonomic symptoms.
  • Generalized Seizures: Affect both sides of the brain and include types such as absence seizures (brief lapses in awareness) and tonic-clonic seizures (involving convulsions and loss of consciousness).

Causes and Risk Factors

Epilepsy can result from various factors, including genetic predisposition, head trauma, brain infections, stroke, and developmental disorders. In many cases, the exact cause remains unknown. Risk factors may include family history, age (with peaks in early childhood and older adulthood), and previous brain injuries.


Diagnosing epilepsy involves a comprehensive approach:

  • Medical History: Detailed accounts of seizure occurrences and triggers.
  • Neurological Exam: Assessing neurological function and identifying abnormalities.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): Detects abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Identifies structural abnormalities in the brain.

Treatment Options

Effective epilepsy management aims to control seizures, minimise side effects, and improve overall quality of life. Treatment options include:


Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are the cornerstone of epilepsy treatment, helping to control seizures in about 70% of patients. Common AEDs include carbamazepine, valproate, and lamotrigine. Regular monitoring and adjustments are essential to manage side effects and ensure efficacy.


Surgical intervention may be considered for patients with medication-resistant epilepsy. Procedures such as resective surgery (removing the seizure focus) or disconnective surgery (interrupting abnormal pathways) can be highly effective.

Dietary Therapy

The ketogenic diet, high in fats and low in carbohydrates, has been shown to reduce seizure frequency in some patients, particularly children.

  • Neurostimulation: Devices such as vagus nerve stimulators (VNS) and responsive neurostimulation (RNS) systems can help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures by modulating brain activity.
  • Complementary Therapies: Practices such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture may provide additional support in managing stress and improving overall well-being.

Living with Epilepsy

Managing epilepsy extends beyond medical treatment. Patients may need to consider their lifestyle and be on the lookout for triggers to minimise the risk of seizures. Safety measures at home and work, such as using protective gear can prevent injury during seizures. You can also get further advice and guidance from your neurologist who can help you find emotional support, counselling and therapy if you need this service.

Appointments for Epileptic Seizures

Dr Dominic Paviour is a highly experienced consultant neurologist who helps many patients with epilepsy. He can help you manage your symptoms, find the best medication and manage your condition effectively so you can live life to the full. Book in with Dr Paviour to discuss your epilepsy and find effective ways to manage your condition.