Publisher: O'Reilly Media / Patient Centered Guides
Released: March 2001
Some 2,300,000 people in the U.S. have one of forty types of epilepsy. The most well-known of these is epilepsy with grand mal seizures. However, forms of epilepsy that involve only part of the brain and do not involve convulsions are more common. Symptoms for these partial seizure disorders can vary widely: some patients have no physical signs at all, experiencing only mental or sensory changes during a seizure, while others may experience numbing, shaking, or automatic movements of one or more body parts.
Although partial seizures usually do not look dramatic to other people, they can have serious consequences for patients who have them. If left untreated, seizure activity may become more severe, occurring increasingly often and spreading to affect other brain regions. There is a possibility of permanent brain damage in some cases. The physical and emotional effects of partial seizures--dissociation, loss of coordination, memory loss, fatigue, mood swings, and physical pain, among others--can also make them very difficult to live with.
The good news is that partial seizures are treatable. With intervention, patients can wrest back control of their lives. Partial Seizure Disorders helps patients and families:
Secure an accurate and complete diagnosis.
Live with partial seizures in the family, including developmental issues for young children, school difficulties, employment, and driving.
Understand medical interventions and side effects. Many medications for epilepsy are not appropriate for people with partial seizure disorders.
Explore therapeutic and other interventions, often as an adjunct to medication, such as learning coping skills, diet changes, vitamins, etc.
Get care with an existing health plan, including handling the problems that arise when you have a little-known disorder.
Find comprehensive resources: advocacy and support organizations, books, articles, and online resources.
Author Mitzi Waltz, an advocate for children's neurological issues, has included the stories of dozens of patients and parents.