Seizure episodes occur when there is an abnormal spike of electrochemical activity in part or all of the brain. It can occur at random in anyone at anytime for no apparent reason, or there can be some cause such as induced by head trauma or a metabolic imbalance or other medical problem. A seizure can present in many ways. Sometimes it presents as a few seconds of staring with loss of awareness of the surroundings. Sometimes it presents as prolonged whole-body convulsions with tongue-biting and incontinence. Sometimes it presents as an episode of simple uncontrollable rhythmic shaking of an arm or leg with no impairment of consciousness.

There are many other ways in which a seizure can present, and there are many other medical conditions or phenomenon that can mimic seizure activity. Seizures always require medical care. Many patients who experience seizures take medication every day in order to prevent seizure activity. Taking these medications does not guarantee that a patient will remain seizure-free, but does reduce the chance of having a seizure. We strongly recommend that patients remain on their seizure medication and take it as prescribed. Discontinuing these medications abruptly increases the risk for seizure.

We recommend that seizure patients avoid common seizure triggers such as alcohol consumption, disrupted sleep, illicit drugs, excessive caffeine, dehydration, fatigue and high stress. Seizure patients should try to sleep for at least eight hours each night, ideally without interruptions. We also recommend that seizure patients avoid doing activities alone that could be dangerous if a seizure were to occur such as rock climbing, swimming, scuba diving, or climbing ladders. Depending on which state a driver’s license is issued, there may be strict driving restrictions.