Seizures and Epilepsy Myths Debunked

Seizures and Epilepsy Myths Debunked

by Stephanie Meadows

Having a seizure, let alone watching someone else suffer from a seizure, is undoubtedly one of the scarier moments in our lives. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, and is associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. There will be many questions: Why is this happening? Will it happen again? A wide range of issues may need to be addressed, but some of the most important to address are the myths that arise when the words “seizure” and “epilepsy” are used interchangeably.

Myth 1: Seizures and epilepsy are the same

Many believe that having a seizure equates to having epilepsy. Although the two terms are often used simultaneously, a seizure (which is a single occurrence) is different than epilepsy (which is defined as a condition involving two or more unprovoked seizures).

Myth 2: Seizures cause brain damage

Small seizures do not inherently cause brain damage. In rare circumstances, if the seizure lasts for a prolonged period of time, the brain may incur scarring.

Myth 3: Seizure medicines cure seizures

Unlike antibiotics, seizure medications only work to control seizures. Seizure medications need to be taken on a regular basis to be effective at reducing your chance for relapse. Missed doses put the person at risk to have another seizure.

Myth 4: You will need to be on seizure medicine for the rest of your life. 

Most children will outgrow their seizures. An electroencephalogram (EEG), MRI, developmental status, age of onset and degree of difficulty in controlling seizures can all be helpful indicators in predicting the chances of outgrowing seizures. Once seizure free on medication for two years, you may work with your doctor to slowly wean off the seizure medication.

If you would like more information about seizures and epilepsy, call Colonial Healthcare at (803) 773-5227 to request an appointment.