Today epilepsy is considered a neurological disorder. It is characterized by abnormal brain activity and rapid spread of many electrical impulses which all together cause muscle twitching and many other symptoms and signs. Even though the condition is rarely inherited (there is only one type of epilepsy confirmed to be connected with heritage) it is easy to develop epilepsy if there are structural or functional abnormalities in the brain. For instance, epilepsy affects people suffering from head trauma, stroke, brain tumors etc. The condition may also be idiopathic, meaning that no underlying cause can be identified.
Frequency of Seizures
Unfortunately, we are simply not capable of foreseeing future seizures. Patients may sometimes experience a so-called aura, an introduction to seizures and warn people around them that seizures are about to start. However, when the attack will occur and for how long it will last no one can tell.
Treatment should be well adjusted and only this way the frequency of seizures may be reduced but it may not be possible to prevent every single attack. Also, by avoiding potential triggers of epilepsy one may be seizure free for certain period of time. Additionally, some other conditions may contribute to frequent seizures. Once these are treated and brought under control, the frequency of seizures will also reduce.
Potential Epilepsy Triggers
There are several triggers which are known to contribute to seizures.
The first one is alcohol. Heavily intoxicated people are prone to seizures. They may also develop seizures once the level of alcohol in blood drops (i.e. the following morning). This does not mean that patients with epilepsy are restricted from having a drink or two, but uncontrollable drinking is strictly forbidden.
Sleep deprivation is another powerful cause of an epileptic attack. The same goes for emotional stress. Seizures tend to be more frequent when a person is under persistent emotional stress.
Furthermore, in women frequency of seizures increases while they are in menstrual phase of their cycle. It may be that epileptic attacks occur exactly with menstruation. Another alteration regarding frequency of the attacks is reported in pregnancy.
Exposure to flickering light is known to be a major trigger for epilepsy in certain number of patients. Also, in small children seizures may occur once the child develops some infection and his/her body temperature suddenly increases.
Finally, frequent seizures are reported in individuals in whom therapy with anti-epileptic medications has been stopped abruptly. This is a highly dangerous situation which requires immediate medical attention because it can easily progress into status epilepticus. So, before discontinuing anti-epileptic drugs, patients must consult their doctors and see how this can be performed without associated complications.