Types of Epilepsy


More than 39 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy. This form of neurological disorder disrupts the daily lives of many people due to episodes of seizures. Unfortunately, theses episodes can vary from minor to serious and can cause damage both to oneself and others. There are three different types of epilepsy that cause different types of seizures.

Types of Epilepsy

Causes and Symptoms

Most people who suffer from epilepsy are unsure of how they developed this disorder. Only a small part of those with epilepsy have some form of genetic mutation. Some of the known causes that develop into epilepsy include: stroke, birth defects, brain injury or infection and tumors.

Although there are different types of seizures associated with epilepsy, there are some symptoms that are common among them. These symptoms include:

  • Staring blankly ahead
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to control jerking movements
  • Deja vu
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

Types of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is categorized into three different types of seizures. These seizures include:

Generalized Epilepsy

If you suffer from blackouts or muscles spasms, then you may have this type of epilepsy. There are six sub-categories within this form of epilepsy. Grand mal seizures are the most common and focuses on the loss of consciousness and uncontrollable shaking. Clonic seizures can last for minutes and include muscle spasms. Tonic seizures occur most often in your sleep and cause your appendages to immobilize. The opposite occurs for those with atonic seizures as their muscles go limp. Myoclonic seizures happen when your body feels like it has just been electrocuted or shocked. Petit mal seizures have people, mostly children, staring blankly into space or rolling their eyes back into their head.

Focal Epilepsy

These types of seizures are also known as partial seizures because they only affect a section of the brain and not the whole brain. Each lobe of the brain can suffer from different forms of symptoms of focal epilepsy. For example, the temporal lobe can cause the feeling of déjà vu or the occipital lobe can cause hallucinations. Split into two categories, focal epilepsy can focus on focal onset aware and focal onset impaired awareness. For people who suffer from déjà vu, sudden fear or happiness, altered senses or labored speech then they may have focal onset aware.

This type of seizure can occur at any time including during sleep. They are brief episodes that usually last no longer than 3 minutes. Focal impaired awareness seizures focus on issues involving the amygdala or hippocampus. The loss of consciousness may have people constantly staring into space. The types of seizures that people can go through include simple, complex and secondary. The simple focuses on body parts twitching while the complex focuses on physical activity such as random laughing or crying. Convulsions are a form of secondary seizures within focal epilepsy.

Generalized and Focal Epilepsy

Types of Epilepsy

This type of epilepsy occurs in those who suffer from both types of epilepsy; the generalized and focal variations.


Diagnosing epilepsy can include checking the brain waves for questionable  or uncontrollable activities. This is done using an electroencephalogram or EEG. Other than an EEG, neurological and physical tests are performed to test an epilepsy diagnosis, along with a blood test. Doctors may ask a series of questions such as what your symptoms are and when do they occur. The first step is to determine the type of seizure you have had and that determines the type of epilepsy. Once these two steps have been completed, then treatment can begin.



Medication is one of the most common forms of treatment with epilepsy patients. If need be, epilepsy surgery can help control the seizures if it is putting a person’s life at risk.  Therapy is a great way to help control the epileptic seizures. The best way to live with epilepsy is to take the right medication, wear a medical bracelet to let others who of your condition and keep up a healthy lifestyle.