Types of Epilepsy

Types of Epilepsy

Types of Epilepsy

The field of genetic epilepsy research is currently growing, and many scientific studies are happening all the time to help those with epilepsy manage their symptoms. Managing epilepsy well is all about getting the best possible quality of life and understanding the different types of epilepsy. Finding the root cause of your seizures can help you understand why they’re happening and explain where they begin. 

Epilepsy is a chronic noncommunicable disease of the brain. Fifty million people worldwide have epilepsy; among 3.4 million people nationwide, it is the most common neurological disease1. Seizures and epilepsy are more common in young children and older people. A good relationship with your neurologist or doctor is imperative to managing epilepsy. 

To date, there are more than 30 known epilepsy syndromes. The most common types of Epilepsy include: 

  • Focal epilepsy is the most common at 60% of the epileptic These are seizures that begin on one side of the brain.
  • Simple focal seizure is a seizure that starts with an aura, aware during the seizure but unable to communicate.
  • Complex focal seizures are characterized by altered consciousness but not necessarily a complete loss of consciousness.
  • Generalized epilepsy seizures begin on both sides of the brain and cause impaired or loss of consciousness. 

The silver lining is that seizures can be controlled with proper medication. 70% of people with epilepsy could become seizure-free with appropriate anti seizure medicines2. If you had a seizure caused by epilepsy, your doctor would follow three steps to give you the correct diagnosis.

  1. Figure out the types of seizures you had
  2. Figure out the type of epilepsy you have
  3. Decide whether you have a specific epilepsy syndrome

Once you receive a diagnosis, you and your doctor will decide on the best treatment and protocol to follow. Thanks to the advances in medicine, there are many to choose from.


Dr. Alan B. Ettinger, MD, MBA, FAAN, FAES is a nationally-known epilepsy specialist devoted to helping individuals with seizures and related disorders. For all in-office appointments and inquiries,
please call (631) 364-9119.

North Suffolk Neurology is a full-service Neurology, Headache Medicine, and Sleep Medicine practice. Our neurologists are board certified with a commitment to help patients and their families maintain and improve health.

1 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/epilepsy

2 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/epilepsy#