Epilepsy and Seizure Disorder

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a common condition that causes repeated seizures. The seizures are caused by bursts of electrical activity in the brain that are not normal. Seizures may cause problems with muscle control, movement, speech, vision, or awareness.

Epilepsy may develop even without any risk factors. Sometimes, a cause can’t always be identified, especially in many forms of childhood epilepsy. For some people, epilepsy can result from a tumour, infection, or damage to the brain.

Children and older adults are most likely to develop epilepsy, but it can start at any age. It is possible that epilepsy may run in families. But you do not have to have a family history to develop epilepsy.

Epileptic seizures occur when abnormal bursts of electricity in the brain briefly upset normal brain function. It’s not always clear what triggers the bursts of abnormal electrical activity.

Conditions that can cause seizures include:
 Head injury.
 Stroke or conditions that affect the blood vessels (vascular system) in the brain.
 Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) in the brain.
 Brain tumour.
 Brain infection, such as meningitis or encephalitis.
 Alzheimer’s disease.
 Substance use disorder or withdrawal.

Tumours, scar tissue from injury or disease, or abnormal brain development may damage a specific area of the brain and cause partial seizures. But you may not have any of these conditions and still develop epilepsy.


BC Epilepsy Society 604-875-6704

Centre for Epilepsy & Seizure Education in BC 604-853-7399