Epilepsy is condition that is regarded by doctors as being very serious and is said to affect the normal electrical circuitry of the brain. Many people have heard about the electrical system of the heart and they know that the electricity starts from a certain part of the heart known as the sinoatrial node and then spreads to the rest of the heart in order to cause it to contract. Well you can apply a similar principle to the brain in the sense that electricity is passed from nerve cell to nerve cell in order to relay messages throughout the brain and allow everything in the body to work as per usual. Fortunately unlike the heart the electricity does not cause the brain to contract or else this would have devastating consequences.
When the normal electrical circuitry goes array from time to time you can get a symptom known as a seizure. A seizure will manifest itself differently depending upon what part of the brain is malfunctioning and so it is not easy to describe a one size fits all seizure. However it does suffice to say that while experiencing a seizure you may act strange or feel unusual. It is very common for the muscles of the body to go limp and/or stiff, you may black out, twitch, or shake. Seizures do not tend to be long lasting episodes and often they only last a matter of seconds or minutes. If the cells that pass along the current in one particular area of the body are affected and cells in the rest of the brain remain normal, they are known as partial seizures.
If the electrical current has been interfered with all throughout the brain then you will get a seizure pattern that is known as a generalized seizure. Unfortunately it is not always easy for the doctor to tell you why you have epilepsy. In fact in 70% of patients who suffer from this condition there is no known cause for the epilepsy. This does not mean that it cannot be controlled with medication though.
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Some of the more common causes include problems with brain development, infection, or injury.