There are many different types of epileptic seizure. Any of us could potentially have a single epileptic seizure at some point in our lives. This is not the same as having epilepsy, which is a tendency to have seizures that start in the brain.
Are all seizures the same?
There are different types of epileptic seizures, but they all start in the brain. There are other types of seizures which may look like epileptic seizures but they do not start in the brain.
Some seizures are caused by conditions such as low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) or a change to the way the heart is working. Some very young children have ‘febrile convulsions’ (jerking movements) when they have a high temperature. These are not the same as epileptic seizures.
In March 2017 the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), a group of the world’s leading epilepsy professionals, introduced a new method to group seizures. This gives doctors a more accurate way to describe a person’s seizures, and helps them to prescribe the most appropriate treatments.
Seizures are divided into groups depending on:
Depending on where they start, seizures are described as being focal onset, generalised onset or unknown onset.