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Epilepsy – Categories

October 12, 2021


Yes, there are several different types, actually many different types, of epilepsy, and they can be categorized in different ways. So for example, one way of categorizing them is the age at which the person or the age range at which the person is most likely to start having seizures. So some epilepsy syndromes begin typically in early childhood or in adolescence or in adulthood. These different syndromes often have different natural histories, meaning what happens over time. And there may be a difference in which medications are most likely to be beneficial. Another way to categorize the different epilepsy syndromes is by the type or types of seizure that the person has. Some types of seizure are focal, which means they begin in one small part of the brain, and other seizures are generalized, which means that both sides of the brain or even most of the brain is involved, right when the seizure starts. Similarly, we can categorize the epilepsy syndromes as those in which the person has focal seizures, as opposed to those in which the person has generalized seizures. Again, categorizing the syndromes in this way helps us educate the patient about the expected natural history or long-term effects of the epilepsy, and also with medication treatment.

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