Epilepsy Seizures – Symptoms, Causes and Triggers

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder extremely common in people of all ages. According to an estimate, every one in 26 is affected by epilepsy. This brain disorder is also very common in the US, and the country annually reports more than 2 million cases. There are treatments that might help to better deal with the condition, but it is not curable. An unpredictable seizure without a known medical cause generally refers to epilepsy seizures. The actual source of epilepsy is the brain, and disturbance in nerve activity triggers epilepsy seizures. The occurrence of seizures may vary from one person to another. A person is more likely to experience more types of seizures and other neurological problems.

Triggers of Epilepsy

Many people can barely distinguish triggers that result in epilepsy. However, for many people, there are certain distinguishable factors that are likely to trigger epilepsy seizures; these factors are as follows:

Lack of Sleep – During sleep, a brain experiences different electrical activities; therefore, many people are more sensitive to changes in sleep patterns as it could possibly trigger epilepsy. Changes in sleep pattern and lack of sleep can cause disturbance in brain activity and brain signals which has a strong potential to trigger epilepsy seizures.

Alcohol Intake – Many studies support the fact that excessive alcohol intake may also trigger epilepsy seizures. Consuming as many as three or more drinks of alcohol can abnormally reduce blood sugar levels triggering epilepsy seizures. For people such as children and pregnant women, addiction treatment can mean an entirely new life.

If an epilepsy patient is a pregnant woman, then the need for addiction treatment will help to avoid a major seizure trigger. Seizures during pregnancy can prove fatal for developing babies and childbearing women. Professional treatment helps pregnant women to overcome addiction and maintain sobriety.

Fever and Illness – Changes in body temperature may also trigger seizures, but it is more common in infants and children. However, in adults, there are many illnesses that can also trigger a seizure. The physical stress during an illness may result in a neurological disturbance. This disturbance may trigger epilepsy seizures.

Stress – It is very crucial to manage stress as uncontrolled stress may even increase the risk of epilepsy seizures. It is therefore even more important for people with epilepsy to manage and control stress. Stress is actually a mood disorder that is directly associated with the brain and may even onset other brain-related issues such as epilepsy.

Your doctor may prescribe certain medications to deal with stress as it can directly increase the frequency and severity of seizures in epilepsy patients. A person may also look to acquire psychological therapies to deal with stress.

Flashes of Light – Quite a small number of people are photosensitive. Due to this photosensitivity, exposure to flashes of light for a certain period of time may also trigger epilepsy seizures. Sensitivity to the intensity of the light may differ from person to person.

Identifying Symptoms

Usually, the seizures refer to epilepsy, but what type of seizures represents epilepsy is an important question to differentiate it from others. The seizure that a person might experience generally differs from one person to another. A person may experience uncontrolled or blank staring for a while and many times an uncontrolled and abnormal twitch of arms and legs that stay for a few minutes.

However, experiencing at least two or more signs of recurrent seizures may possibly refer to epilepsy. Brain and nerve signals are responsible for many sensory functions of the body, and any disturbance in these signals also affects the resulting sensory response of the body. Some common seizure symptoms are:

  • Muscle spasm
  • Fainting and losing consciousness
  • Repetitive bodily movements
  • State of confusion and unresponsiveness
  • Unconscious starring for a time period

The seizures are further classified based on the degree of abnormality in brain activity. This further classifies epilepsy seizures. Most commonly, doctors classify epilepsy seizures as focal seizures and generalized seizures.


There could be a number of possible factors causing epilepsy. Let us review some major causes of epilepsy.

A person having a family history is more likely to experience epilepsy seizures. Many times the problem is in the genes, which makes a person more sensitive to surrounding factors that often trigger epilepsy seizures
A traumatic head injury is the other main cause that may result in epilepsy.
There are many brain conditions that may also cause epilepsy. Such conditions usually bring abnormal changes in nerve activity that result in epilepsy, such as brain stroke and tumors.

How a Seizure Journal Can Help?

It is not easy to figure out seizure triggers if you have epilepsy. Managing seizure triggers is another way to effectively control and reduce the occurrence of epilepsy seizures. Keeping a seizure journal will help your physician figure out the actual triggers behind the seizure. Knowing the triggers can help to keep control of epilepsy seizures.

Make sure to consider certain things, as these will help to pinpoint the right triggers behind seizures. While making your notes, make sure to note down the following thing.

1. The time of the day of seizure occurrence.

2. The specific type of activity you were indulged in.

3. Any unusual sensory stimulus around you, such as an unusual sound, sight and smell.

4. Your fatigue and stress level.

5. How well you slept and any disturbance in regular sleep pattern.

6. Some unusual stressors.

7. Any changes in dietary pattern.

Maintaining a seizure journal is also very helpful for physicians. It will provide all information that will prove useful in defining the right treatment. The physician may even suggest a few changes in habits and lifestyle to manage epilepsy seizures.

Take Away

Anyone ranging from a child to an old person can experience epilepsy and related seizures. However, there are many effective ways that help a person to reduce the intensity and frequency of seizures.