Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.
Anyone can develop epilepsy. Epilepsy affects both males and females of all races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.
SYMPTOMS OF EPILEPSY/SEIZURES
As epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in the brain, it can affect any process that our brain coordinates.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Temporary confusion
- A staring spell
- Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
- Loss of consciousness or awareness
- Psychic symptoms such as fear, anxiety
Symptoms vary depending on the type of epilepsy. In most cases, a person with epilepsy will tend to have the same type of seizure each time, so the symptoms will be similar from episode to episode.
Doctors generally classify seizures as either focal or generalized, based on how the abnormal brain activity begins.
When seizures appear to result from abnormal activity in just one area of our brain, they are called focal (partial) seizures. These seizures fall into two categories:
- Focal seizures without loss of consciousness- Once called simple partial seizures, these seizures do not cause a loss of consciousness. They may alter emotions or change the way things look, smell, feel, taste or sound. They may also result in involuntary jerking of a body part, such as an arm or leg, and spontaneous sensory symptoms such as tingling, dizziness and flashing lights.
- Focal seizures with impaired awareness. Once called complex partial seizures, these seizures involve a change or loss of consciousness or awareness. During a complex partial seizure, one may stare into space and not respond normally to our environment or perform repetitive movements, such as hand rubbing, chewing, swallowing or walking in circles.
Symptoms of focal seizures may be confused with other neurological disorders, such as migraine, narcolepsy or mental illness. A thorough examination and testing are needed to distinguish epilepsy from other disorders.
Seizures that appear to involve all areas of the brain are called generalized seizures. Six types of generalized seizures exist.
- Absence seizures-Absence seizures, previously known as petit mal seizures, often occur in children and are characterized by staring into space or subtle body movements such as eye blinking or lip smacking. These seizures may occur in clusters and cause a brief loss of awareness.
- Tonic seizures-Tonic seizures cause stiffening of our muscles. These seizures usually affect muscles in our back, arms and legs and may cause to fall to the ground.
- Atonic seizures- Atonic seizures, also known as drop seizures, cause a loss of muscle control, which may cause one to suddenly collapse or fall down.
- Clonic seizures-Clonic seizures are associated with repeated or rhythmic, jerking muscle movements. These seizures usually affect the neck, face and arms.
- Myoclonic seizures- Myoclonic seizures usually appear as sudden brief jerks or twitches of our arms and legs.
- Tonic-clonic seizures-Tonic-clonic seizures, previously known as grand mal seizures, are the most dramatic type of epileptic seizure and can cause an abrupt loss of consciousness, body stiffening and shaking, and sometimes loss of bladder control or biting tongue.
CAUSES OF EPILEPSY/SEIZURES
Epilepsy occurs as a result of abnormal electrical activity originating from the brain. Brain cells communicate by sending electrical signals in an orderly pattern. In epilepsy these electrical signals become abnormal, giving rise to an "electrical storm" that produces seizures. These storms may be within a specific part of the brain or be generalized, depending on the type of epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a chronic disease having a tendency to relapse periodically and for many years to life time, if not adequately treated.
CLASSIFICATION OF EPILEPSY/SEIZURES
The seizures that the patient experiences are of various forms, they are classified as below:
Partial epilepsy :- In this, the patient may loose consciousness, there may be twitching or jerking of one single part like twitching of finger or fingers, or twitching of facial muscles. It happens because of the pausing of the electrical activity in the brain, which could be in one part, or can move to another part or may stay in one area until the seizure is over.
Generalized seizure :- Electrical disturbances occurring all over brain at same time are generalized seizures. They are further classified as follows
- Petit mal : The conversation is associated with brief pauses e.g.: suddenly stops talking in middle of the sentence, and then carries on where he left off. Usually seen in childhood.
- Grand mal : It has sudden onset, with loss of consciousness, limbs stiffened, and then they jerk and can feel drowsy post seizure.
- Myoclonic jerk : There is sudden fall on the ground or giving up of the limb.
- Atonic : Here the patient become flaccid.
- Akinetic : It usually associated with less motility of limbs like in infantile spasms.
HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE FOR EPILEPSY
CICUTA VIROSA :- Useful for epilepsy where convulsions are marked by violent, body distortions. There is horrific backward bending of the spine (learn about the exercises for spine). These convulsions also make the person's face turn blue and trigger a locked jaw. This can also be used to effectively treat epilepsy cases triggered by head injuries and worms.
ARTEMESIA VULGARIS :- Useful for Petit Mal Epilepsy which are characterized by staring into space, leaning forwards or backwards and stopping a sentence abruptly. It also addresses fear that triggers epileptic attacks.
STRAMONIUM :- Useful for epilepsy with convulsions triggered by exposure to bright lights or shiny objects.Useful when patient experiences jerks in the muscles of the upper body.