Page Summary

  • Epilepsy is a condition of the brain causing seizures.
  • A seizure is a disruption of the electrical communication between neurons
  • Someone is said to have epilepsy if they experience two or more unprovoked seizures separated by at least 24 hours
The Epilepsy Foundation is your unwavering ally in the fight against epilepsy and seizures. You don't walk alone.

What is epilepsy? Will I have seizures forever?

You may have a lot of questions about epilepsy. We will help you understand the basics, answer the most common questions, and help you find resources and other information you may need. However, information alone won’t help you manage your epilepsy and find a way to cope with the effects on your daily life. You’ll need to learn how to use the information and make it work for you.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition which affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition.

What are Seizures?

Seizures seen in epilepsy are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but most of the time the cause is unknown…

Seizures are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain.

  • 65 MILLION: Number of people around the world who have epilepsy.
  • OVER 2 MILLION: Number of people in the United States who have epilepsy.
  • 1 IN 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime.
  • BETWEEN 4 AND 10 OUT OF 1,000: Number of people on earth who live with active seizures at any one time. 
  • 150,000: Number of new cases of epilepsy in the United States each year
  • ONE-THIRD: Number of people with epilepsy who live with uncontrollable seizures because no available treatment works for them.
  • 6 OUT OF 10: Number of people with epilepsy where the cause is unknown.
Authored by: Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 1/2014
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 3/2014
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Getting Started on Epilepsy.com
  • Browse through Epilepsy 101.
  • Get more details in our Learn section.
  • Find out how to manage your seizures in our Get Help Section. 
  • Find out how to connect with your local Epilepsy Foundation and get involved in our digital community. 
  • Help us make a difference in the lives of people with epilepsy and their families. 
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