Epilepsy is a neurological condition. It is sometimes called a seizure disorder. It takes the form of brief, temporary changes in the normal functioning of the brain's electrical system. These brief malfunctions mean that more than the usual amount of electrical energy passes between cells. This sudden overload may stay in just one small area of the brain, or it may swamp the whole system.
Epileptic seizures can have unusual body movements, effects on consciousness, and changed behavior produced by malfunctioning cells. Epileptic seizures may be convulsive or non-convulsive in nature, depending on where in the brain the malfunction takes place and on how much of the total brain area is involved.
- Convulsive seizures are the ones which most people generally think of when they hear the word "epilepsy". In this type of seizure, the person undergoes convulsions which usually last from two to five minutes with complete loss of consciousness and muscle spasms.
- Non-convulsive seizures may take the form of a blank stare lasting only a few seconds, an involuntary movement of an arm or leg, or a period of automatic movement in which awareness of one's surroundings is blurred or completely absent.
- Rescheduling of a test or assignment due to a seizure.