Some childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as childhood absence epilepsy, tend to go into remission or stop entirely during adolescence, whereas other syndromes (such as juvenile myoclonic epilepsy) usually present for life once they develop. Seizure syndromes do not always appear in childhood, however.
Epilepsy syndromes that are easily treated, do not seem to impair cognitive functions or development, and usually stop spontaneously are often described as benign. Benign epilepsy syndromes include benign infantile encephalopathy and benign neonatal convulsions.
Epilepsy syndromes in which the seizures and/or the person's cognitive abilities get worse over time are called progressive epilepsy.
Several epilepsy types begin in infancy. The most common infantile type is infantile spasms, which are clusters of seizures that usually begin before the age of six months. During these seizures the infant may bend and cry out. Anticonvulsant drugs often do not work for infantile spasms, but the seizures can be treated with ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) or prednisone.
Other syndromes, such as early myoclonic encephalopathy, include neurological and developmental problems. However, these problems may be caused by underlying neurodegenerative processes rather than by the seizures.