Accompanying Conditions  Seizure Disorders

Seizure Disorders

Epilepsy (seizure disorder) is the most common neurological disorder affecting children, and may be characterized by sudden, recurrent episodes of uncontrolled motor activity and, in some cases, impaired consciousness (seizures). Any condition that triggers disruptive electrical discharges in the brain can produce epilepsy. Although the underlying abnormality may not be correctable, seizures themselves can usually be controlled through drug therapy. There are a number of relatively benign genetic epilepsies of childhood, some but not all of which may be outgrown.

Febrile seizures occur in small children and are caused by high fever. From birth up to the age of 5, about 2% to 4% of children in the United States experience a febrile seizure. Approximately one-third of these children may experience another febrile seizure, but only a few develop epilepsy.

The International Classification of Epileptic Seizure identifies seizure types by the site of origin in the brain. Absence seizures (petit mal) occur most often in children, usually beginning between the ages of 5 and 12 years and often stopping spontaneously in the teens. The loss of consciousness is so brief that the child usually does not even change position. Most absence seizures last 10 seconds or less. There is no postictal state, but the person usually lacks awareness of what occurs during the seizure.

Causes of seizures. "Many abnormalities of the nervous system can result in seizure activity. Seizures can also occur in the normal nervous system when its metabolic balance is disturbed."

Teacher factsheet - provides the definition, facts, symptoms and "what to do" guidelines.

UCLA Seizure Disorder website