Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

I've had seizures since infancy; convulsive (petite mal) starting out up until about age 12, I went with my mother to apply for disability at that time and was informed by letter regarding the disapproval, that it would be something I would grow out of. Well about a year to date I've had a partial seizure while in the military service and  some seizures while I sleep. I didn't qualify for any military benefits because of it being a pre-existing condition. I want to know can you truely ever out grow your seizures or do your seizures transition to another form of seizure as you age?


Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

George - NYC -- Does epilepsy ever leave us entirely, whether through surgery, medicine or just plain chance? From what I've read, only in a small percentage of cases. I've had "E" for 35 years and have seen my seizures go from wild tonic-clonic ("grand mal") versions to, in recent years, auras. A long time ago, typical neurologists would tell people that as one ages, the seizures get worse. If you've done reading on this subject, you'll see that this was merely an assumption. In my case, my seizures are far less frequent and much milder. Then too, so is my attitude toward having epilepsy. Sure it's there, but there's far too much to enjoy while we're walking the planet than to worry unnecessarily about our future. A very positive thing is communicating with other men and women who have "E" -- it's refreshing, informative, and often cheaper than a shrink.

Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

That's a good out look on life with E.  Im from nyork and even though life has it's ups and down's u still have to rool with the puches.  Yea E can b a pain in the butt from passing out to nearly brain surg. but u have to just go with it.  keep up the good attitude, from a fellow newyorker.

Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

hi george

this is a good question to be asking. i've suffered from epilepsy since i was 17 and was fully diagnosed at 18 and went into denial for 2 years as i couldn't accept it.

it took me a few years to get my seizures under control and now i know my triggers i'm happy to say that as of july 2008 i will be fit free for 5 years. my main upset at such a young age was not being able to drive and i lost alot of friends (or i thought they were my friends till i wasn't their taxi's anymore!!)

i've got a few friends with epilepsy (we all seem to find each other) and one has been fit free since she had her first child. the other has had ongoing problems and she's even had a fit since having her child and collapsed on her doorstep with her child inside the house on its own.

sorry to divert what i'm trying to say is that each person suffers this condition on their own and no one has exactly the same things happen to them. i'm lucky in the way that i can control my condition and am going to see my consultant to take me off medication completely as me and my husband are ttc.

who knows in time yours may stop altogether or it may get progressively worse. as the others posts say just enjoy the life you have and live it the best you can regardless of this little obstacle. i'd love to consider myself fit free for ever more but i'll be constantly cautious and on the look out for that fit on the horizon.

good luck xx

Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?


Talking about outgrowing seizures is a very broad topic.  if you have a seizure/seizures as a child, the brain is still not finished developing, and the child may never have another one.  In the case of idiopathic (no known cause) and a low seizure threshold you can have another as an adult.  In which case the brain is fully developed and medication becomes a lifelong commitment, unless there is an underlying cause, fever, head trauma, etc... 

I have had E since my first one at age 11, therein lies the hormonal connection.  I am fifty now and have been on dilantin for thirty years when my next one came on at 21.  My seizures were few and far between, only nocturnal until the age of 45, when a doctor did a total hysterectomy, and I went into what is called static epilepticus, uncontrolled seizure after seizure.  I knew it was coming, and this is very important, I had a headache that put me on the floor.  Prevention is the key word, lack of sleep is the number one cause of a seizure in us folks.  I did that experiment in my 20's where I quit taking medication, had a seiz. 3 days later, that ended that experiment.  Now , I have been informed that my thyroid has been killed by Dilantin, physicians are bound by, "first do no harm", except they left out the part about being proactive.  So, my point being is we all need to pay attention to our own health and assist our doctors in our care.  I hope this helps...


Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

I've had E from being a teenager. I'm now fiftyeight years old. Over the years I've had good and bad times with regard to E. I've been under control for around forty years taking 300mgs of epanutin (phenytoin) a day. I had a little trouble during the menopause but that over, I've been remarkably well. So much so in fact I've hardly taken any medication at all for the last few months. Unfortunately a couple of weeks ago I began to get the old feelings back. I knew that I'd made a mistake not keeping up the medication. I'm now back on 300mgs a day  and yes , feeling absolutely tired out all the time. My advice to anyone who thinks they've outgrown E is to be prepared for it to pay another visit! I agree with you though George. We can have a full and happy life. I have two gorgeous, healthy, intelligent daughters and four beautiful grandchildren. I'm so lucky. 

Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

This is a question that, until a couple of years ago, I would have answered with a confidant "YES".  As a child, I had petit mal seizures, but was told by pediatriatian that I had outgrown them and would never have to deal with them again.  That was around age 13.  Imagine my suprise when during my senior semester in college at the age of 26, I ended up in the hospital after having a grand mal seizure in class.  This time around a neurologist told me that it was possible to change types of seizures as I got older.  I chalked it up to stress/sleep deprivation/bad vitamen combination.  Again, I thought I was in the the clear.  Now, two years later, after a second pregnancy, I have had 4 seizures in the last month.  I'm back on a new medication and have a new neurologist.  This time around, I'm taking more control of the situation and educating myself to the best of my ability.  My new perspective...the brain is a very complex organ that is highly sensitive and easily manipulated.  Maybe it is possible to "outgrow" epilepsy if your brain can somehow figure out how to function without (what I call) misfiring, but maybe it is more likely that you have to teach your brain to function under certain circumstances without temporarily shutting down. All I do know is that I must have control of the situation and demand the healthcare providers provide me their full attention. 

Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?


I have had E since age 5 and am now in my 50s. My first E was convulsive, but then went into absence seizures, then nothing I knew of as they happened nocturnally. Later going through menopause I began to get absence seizures again. Now everything is under control. Do you outgrow E - some do, some don't. Does E transition from one form to another: It did with me.

Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

I've read that between 30%-40% of children who develop epilepsy before the age of 16 may outgrow it. Note that spontaneous remission is far more common in children than in adults.

However, despite these numbers, I wouldn't bet on it happening and rather accept whatever comes along (I started getting seizures at 12 or 13 and was diagnosed at 18; I'm now 36 and it did not go into remission, but for a couple of years in my twenties it made not a peep :)

Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?


Yes is can be possible to outgrow epilepsy, although I think the percentage is quite small.  A girl I know had epilepsy as a young child.  Then in her late teens her seizure just stopped.   Last I saw her she was driving and seizure free.  I had my first seizures at the age of 12 and after the couple I had I was seizure free until I was almost 20.  They were controlled by meds in my early 20's and I got my licence back.  Then at the age of 24 I started having seizures again and I am still having seizures to this day.  My seizures are idopathic and very hard to control.  But the meds have kept them in check to some degree just not completely.  When I switched over to pregabalin I did go for 10 days without a seizure.  But now I am having them again, although they are milder and of shorter duration. 

          Cary :)

Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

George - NYC-- "Possible"? In a small number of cases, I should think. Mine began around age 26, and despite surgery, a myriad of drugs and the latest treatments, I still could be stamped "E" at my current age of 69. My types of seizures have changed, as well as the number I'll get at one time.They no longer appear to be the tonic-clonic version, and I will get "only" one a month. What I have outgrown is my early fear of epilepsy and concern about what onlookers have to say. I have epilepsy, love life, and hope to live on many more years. Hang in there!


Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

Well untill now I thought I would always have peti mal, but out of no where and after 15 years , and having  a good control of medication i had my first clonic tonic 3 days ago, and  it lasted 6 min, and then I passed out for the rest of the night.  I have lost hope.

Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

I'm so sorry to hear that, Capeco.  I have a simliar story.  I had it as a kid...petit mal.  Took dilantin.  I can't remember how it was determined that I had "grown" out of it, but they took me off the meds.  In my early twenties, I started having what appeared to be panic attacks.  Looking back I think they may have been seizures.  My gut feeling is that I never really grew out of it.

 Last summer I had my first Grand Mal.  My trigger seemed to be stress coupled with extreme exhaustion.  After tests, it was determined that I had left temporal lobe sclerosis....which had to have been caused by years of trauma to that area of my brain.  I'm no doc, that's just what I assume.  I am now on Lamictal.  I haven't had a grand mal since July, thank God.

 Don't loose hope.

Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

Absolutely a person can outgrow seizures. I remember having both the petite mal and Grand Mal seizures when I was a kid. When I turned 15 I moved to a different state and ended up throwing the prescriptions down the toilet. I never took any more medicine for the seizures. When I was 21 I had to have a brain scan and they said there were no abnormalities. So yes it is possible or they misdiagnosed it to begin with.

Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

My son had Epilepsy which Started out as Petit Mal at the age of seven and then progrossed to Grand Mal. He was given medication for three years and then was taken off the medication. It is now nine years since coming off the medication and has not had a seizure or any Auras since. He has outgrown the Epilepsy. Providing you are young enough then you could outgrow it.


Re: Is it possible to outgrow epilepsy?

I have heard of many out growing them.