Seizures versus Epilepsy

As described in Chapter 1, not all seizures indicate the presence of epilepsy. "Epilepsy" is the chronic persistence of a brain dysfunction, which leads to recurrent epileptic seizures. Some individuals may have a single epileptic seizure, while others may have a few recurrent seizures during life, always related to a specific transient provoking factor. These people do not have epilepsy. Examples include generalized seizures in susceptible individuals under conditions of alcohol withdrawal or prolonged sleep deprivation, or excessive use of illegal stimulant drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines. Still others may harbor specific lesions, such as cortical tumors or parasitic cysts, which may clinically present with a few seizures, but whose tendency to further episodes is eliminated by resection or medical treatment of the lesion.

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