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When a person has epilepsy, it means that the neurons in the brain sometimes fire abnormally, leading to strange sensations, emotions, and behavior; or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness (seizures). The condition can occur in any person, regardless of race, age, or ethnicity, and has many different causes. Epilepsy is not contagious.
Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, treatment can begin. Medications are a common option, but certain medical procedures may be recommended as well. Epilepsy cannot be cured, but seizures can often be controlled, and people with this condition often live a fairly normal life, with some restrictions on driving privileges and recreational activity.
(For more info on this condition, including its history, the criteria necessary for a diagnosis, and factors that affect a person's prognosis, click Epilepsy.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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