Are you suffering from repeated episodes of convulsions or sudden short-lasting change in behaviour or are you suffering from episodes of losing contact with surrounding for which you have no memory?
The brain has different parts which are frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital concerned respectively with thinking, speaking, moving body parts, feeling sensation, forming language, balancing emotions, and understanding what the eye sees (vision). These brain parts are present on the right as well as on the left side of the brain. These brain areas most of the time function as per our desire or thoughts, through a chain of electrochemical processes in brain’s nerve circuitry. If there is short-circuiting, then without our will, it produces unwanted sudden electrical discharges in these circuits resulting in unprovoked, undesired, out of place, out of context function of the corresponding area of brain resulting in clinically visible episodes called epilepsy.
If frontal part of brain is involved in this short circuiting, it produces on the opposite side of body jerking movements or sudden loss of speech (left frontal brain). Similarly temporal lobe electrical short circuiting causes episodes of psychiatric symptoms with or without body parts movements and not losing contact with the surroundings The fact to remember is that the convulsive form of epilepsy can be diagnosed by any layman anywhere. However, the clinical presentation of these episodes of other abnormal excessive functioning of brain cells is usually missed like episodes of speech arrest, episodes of sudden blankness – dream-like states or electrical current like sensation in the limb or sparks before the eyes which all could be a type of seizure – epilepsy.
Sudden episodes of forgetfulness could also have the same causation wiz a wiz brain cells abnormal electrical discharges. Any of the above symptoms are of epilepsy which can have a demonstrable cause like a scar, swelling in the brain, a brain nodule caused by a worm or infection like tuberculosis, etc or brain tumour or neurotoxic substances use or abuse. Many cases of epilepsy may not have demonstrable cause despite being present in the brain due to limitation of present-day investigations like CT scan, MRI scan, etc. As they could be too minute to be picked up by investigations but sure bad enough to cause epilepsy. There are only few epilepsies which are genetic in nature.
It is worth stating the fact that epilepsy is not contagious and does not effect those in contact with epileptic patients. It does not come in the way of achieving goals of life of an individual, except for some professions like a pilot of an aircraft, swimmer, professional driver of a vehicle, armed forces, etc. EEG is the test of choice for documenting an epileptic attacks. However, EEG can be normal in between the attacks and the abnormalities are best picked up immediately after an attack. Many epilepsies arising from specific areas of frontal and temporal lobe mimic psychiatric episodes of abnormal bizarre behaviour.
Almost all the cases of epilepsies are controlled by pharmacotherapy, only a few resistant cases may require intervention in the form of nerve stimulator use by invasive methods and also surgical correction. It is worth knowing that in those very minute percentage of uncontrolled epilepsy only surgery is needed and it does not make the person drug free.