What is epilepsy?

This section of our website aims to give you an overview of epilepsy and its treatment. We also have a broad range of information leaflets, which you can access here.

We have teamed up with HealthUnlocked to provide a safe and secure forum for you to share your experiences of epilepsy with others. Click below to join!

Epilepsy Research UK community on HealthUnlocked

Epilepsy is a common condition that affects approximately one in 103 people. It is usually diagnosed in childhood and in people over the age of 65, but it can affect anyone.

The only visible symptom of epilepsy is recurrent seizures, and these are caused by too much electrical activity in groups of neurons in the brain. How a person behaves during a seizure will depend upon the area of their brain that is affected. Click here for some background information about how seizures arise.

There are two main types of seizure – generalised and focal. Generalised seizures involve large areas on both sides of the brain, whilst focal seizures affect a specific region.  You can read about the different types of generalised and focal seizure in our information leaflet entitled  ‘What is epilepsy?’

Epilepsy Research UK is currently funding research to find out exactly what happens when a seizure takes place. For example, Dr Rob Wykes at University College London is exploring, in more detail than ever, how brain cells behave before, during and after seizure onset. You can read more about this project here.

This is just one of many projects in our research portfolio, which includes studies into many different aspects of epilepsy.  To view the full portfolio click here.

Explore our site further for information about the causes, diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.