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Diagnosis and Treatment of Epilepsy


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes epilepsy as a disorder of the brain that causes seizures. These seizures are not caused by a temporary underlying medical condition such as a high fever.

Epilepsy can affect people in very different ways. This is because there are many causes and many different kinds of seizures. Some people may have multiple types of seizures or other medical conditions in addition to epilepsy. These factors play a major role in determining both the severity of the person’s condition and the impact it has on his or her life.  

The way a seizure looks depends on the type of seizure a person is experiencing.  Some seizures can look like staring spells. Other seizures can cause a person to collapse, shake, and become unaware of what’s going on around them.

Epilepsy can be caused by different conditions that affect a person's brain. Many times the cause is unknown. Some causes include:

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke offers more clinical information on the patterns, causes and types of epilepsy.


Most children and youth with epilepsy are treated and well-managed by family practitioners and pediatricians. For patients who appear to be more difficult to manage, referrals are made to pediatric neurologists for another level of care. The highest level of expertise is the epileptologist.

The websites below offer more information about these specialties.