Epilepsy vs Seizure Understand the Difference

Often epilepsy and seizures are mistaken and used interchangeably by people. This is where the confusion arises as both epilepsy and seizures are neurological disorders with somewhat similar characteristics. However, in reality, there’s a lot of difference between epilepsy and seizures. 

To know epilepsy and seizure differences, one must know what exactly they both are? Here’s everything one needs to know about epilepsy- 

What is a seizure?   

A seizure is a sudden, abrupt change in the electrical activity of your brain. Seizures generally fall under two major categories- focal onset seizures and generalised onset seizures – 

  • Focal onset seizures- These seizures at the first start in the brain and later spread to other parts of the body. A person may experience sudden movement or twitching, which is out of their control. They might zone out or not remember anything after the seizure. Some of the symptoms of focal onset seizures are – loss of consciousness, change in behaviour and movements, etc.  
  • Generalised seizures –These seizures affect multiple parts of the brain at the same time. People are barely aware of what’s happening around them. These can be dangerous and frightening to witness. Some of the symptoms of generalised seizures are – sudden blinking or twitching of the eye, stiffening of the limbs, body jerking, etc. 

Most of the time, seizures are noticeable, and you can make out if a person has a seizure. However, sometimes, it may escape your eye. Here are some symptoms that a person is having a seizure- 

  • Uncontrollable muscles spasms
  • Drooling
  • Uncontrolled bowels or bladder 
  • Biting of tongue or clenching of teeth 
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Jerky movements of the arms and legs 
  • Having blurred vision
  • Dropping things, falling on ground/fainting 

Anything that interrupts the connection of nerve cells in the brain can lead to a seizure. Thus, almost all people are at risk of having a seizure. However, a single seizure doesn’t mean you have epilepsy or a seizure disorder. 

A seizure disorder refers to having frequent episodes of unprovoked seizures. Unprovoked seizures are caused out of the blue, unlike provoked seizures triggered by events such as a stroke, traumatic brain injury, etc. Several factors can increase the risk of you having a seizure. Having a brain injury or infection in the past, severe Alzheimer’s disease, exposure to toxic substances such as alcohol, smoking, drugs, etc., having a brain tumour, frequent strokes, etc. are some of the risk factors that may lead to the debilitating condition of seizures or seizure disorder. 

What is epilepsy? 

Epilepsy is a chronic condition where one has recurrent seizures. The nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, thus causing frequent outbursts of electrical energy. It is common among children and older adults. Epileptic people often have recurring seizures, which can cause harm to them. These seizures are, as we know, broadly of two types – focal and generalised. They have further divided as-.  

  • Focal seizures-  
  1. Simple partial seizures    
  2. Complex partial seizure 
  • Generalised seizures-  
  1. Absence seizure
  2. Tonic seizures 
  3. Atonic seizures
  4. Clonic seizures 
  5. Myoclonic seizures 
  6. Tonic-clonic seizures

Epilepsy can also lead to convulsions. There is a very thin line between epilepsy, seizure and convulsions. While epilepsy is a seizure disorder, a convulsion is a type of seizure, which may result from a medical condition. Many a time, epilepsy may involve having convulsions.

Caring for a person with epilepsy can be difficult as the person is at constant risk of hurting themselves because of the sudden epilepsy attacks.  Here is everything you need to know how to support someone with epilepsy 

Firstly, attention must be paid to the seizure treatment of the epileptic person. A doctor may suggest epilepsy sedative such as anti-epileptic drugs to reduce the seizures. The doctor may also prescribe other medication, depending upon the type and intensity of epilepsy, which will help the patient recover soon. Consult the best neurosurgeon in Jaipur to attain the best treatment for epilepsy.  

Attention must also be paid to the diet of the patient. Generally, a keto-diet is deemed beneficial for a person suffering from epilepsy disease. Often, people with epilepsy may resort to alcohol and drugs, which must be strictly avoided. 

Seizures are an important characteristic of epilepsy. Thus, a caretaker must always be ready with a first aid box and tool kit in order to handle the seizure. They must also observe and keep a record of when a seizure occurs and what is their frequency. In order to get someone to overcome their seizure, the caretaker should know how to help them relieve their stress and anxiety. Teaching them relaxing techniques will help them soothe themselves and calm them down. Stress is one of the reasons for seizures. By learning relaxing techniques such as meditation or yoga, you can ease out the anxiety. 

Thus, both seizures and epilepsy are different. However, one must never overlook a seizure, as it could be the onset of epilepsy. Both seizures and epilepsy are critical conditions and need to be taken care of. With the love and support of close ones, one can overcome these neurological disorders. 

Also Read: