Seizure causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Overview

Some medications produce an increased risk of seizures and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) deliberately sets out to induce a seizure for the treatment of major depression. Many seizures have unknown causes.

Seizures which are provoked are not associated with epilepsy, and people who experience such seizures are normally not diagnosed with epilepsy. However, the seizures described above resemble those of epilepsy both outwardly, and on EEG testing.

Seizures can occur after a subject witnesses a traumatic event. This type of seizure is known as a psychogenic non-epileptic seizure and is related to post-traumatic stress disorder.

A seizure trigger is a factor that can cause a seizure in a person who either has epilepsy or does not. There are many known causes of seizures, and in some patients, it is possible to determine what triggers seizures in general or has led to the onset of a particular seizure. But the factors that lead to a seizure are often so complex that it is not usually possible in all patients to determine what causes a particular seizure, what causes it to happen at a particular time, or how often seizures occur.[1]

Causes

Common Causes

  • Brain damage from prenatal or perinatal injuries
  • Congenital abnormalities or genetic conditions with associated brain malformations
  • A severe blow to the head
  • A stroke that starves the brain of oxygen
  • An infection of the brain such as meningitis, encephalitis, neurocysticercosis
  • Certain genetic syndromes
  • A brain tumor

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Arrhythmia, Arteriovenous malformation, Birth hypoxia, Heart failure, Congenital heart disease, Hypertensive encephalopathy, Hypotension, Hypovolemia, Hypoxia, Hypoxic encephalopathy, Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, Malignant hypertension, Orthostatic hypotension, Perinatal hypoxia, Romano-Ward syndrome, Takayasu arteritis, Thrombophlebitis, Thrombosis, Valvular heart disease, Vein of Galen malformation, Vertebrobasilar dolichoectasia
Chemical/Poisoning Alcohol withdrawal, Benzene hexachloride, Carbon monoxide toxicity, Carbon tetrachloride, Chemicals, Cyanides, Lead poisoning, Water hemlock poisoning
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic Aicardi Goutieres syndrome, Epidermal nevus syndrome, Incontinentia pigmenti achromians, Incontinentia pigmenti (Bloch Sulzberger syndrome), Linear sebaceous nevus, Neurocutaneous syndromes, Neurofibromatosis type 1, Oculocerebrocutaneous syndrome, Rhinophyma, Zunich neuroectodermal syndrome
Drug Side Effect 4-Aminopyridine, Acetaminophen and Oxycodone, Acyclovir, Almotriptan, Alprazolam, Amifampridine, Aminophylline, Amitriptyline, Amoxapine, Amoxicillin, Amphetamine, Amphotericin B, Ampicillin, Anticholinergics, Antihistamines, Antimalarials, Arabinoside, Aripiprazole, Articaine, Atenolol, Atomoxetine, Atorvastatin, Azathioprine, Aztreonam, Baclofen, Benztropine, Beractant, Bicuculline, bicisate dihydrochloride,Bromocriptine, Bupivacaine, Bupropion, Buspirone, Busulfan, Butyrophenones, Cabergoline, Caffeine, Captopril, Carbenicillin, Carmustine, Carisoprodol, Carvedilol, caspofungin acetate, Cefepime, Cefotetan disodium, Ceftazidime, Cefixime, Cefotetan, cefoxitin sodium, Ceftazidime, Cefuroxime, Cephalexin, Cephalosporins, Cefaclor, Ceritinib, Chlorambucil, Chloroquine, Chlorpromazine, Cidofovir, Cilastatin/imipenem, Cinacalcet, Ciprofloxacin, Cisplatin, Citalopram,Cyclopentolate, Clomiphene, Clomipramine, Clonazepam, Clorazepate, Clozapine, Cocaine, cortisone, Cyclobenzaprine, Cyclophosphamide, Cycloserine, Cyclosporin, Cyclosporine, Cysteamine , Cytosine, Cytarabine, Cytarabine liposome, cytomegalovirus immune globulin Dalfampridine, Dantrolene, Desipramine, Desmopressin, Dexamethasone, Dexmethylphenidate, Dextroamphetamine, Diazepam, Dicyclomine, Diphenhydramine, Disopyramide, Domperidone, Donepezil, Doripenem, Dothiepin, Doxepin, Doxorubicin Hydrochloride, Dronabinol, Duloxetine, Efavirenz, Enflurane, Entacapone, Enflurane, Enzalutamide, Ketamine, Ephedrine, Epoetin, Ergonovine, Erythropoietin, Escitalopram, Estazolam, Eszopiclone, Etoposide, Fentanyl, Flumazenil, Fluvoxamine, Fluoxetine, Fluphenazine, Flurazepam, Fluvastatin, Folinic acid, Foscarnet, Gabapentin, Gamma hydroxybutyrate, Ganciclovir, Gemifloxacin, Ginkgo biloba, Glatiramer, Glycerol phenylbutyrate,Goserelin, Haloperidol, Histrelin, Hydroxyzine, ibuprofen lysine, Iloperidone,Imipenem-Cilastatin, Indomethacin, Insulin, Interferon beta-1a, Interferon beta-1b, Interferon gamma, Iodixanol,Ioxilan, Isoniazid, Isotretinoin, Ivermectin, Ketamine, Ketorolac, levetiracetam, Levocarnitine, Levofloxacin, Lidocaine, Lindane, Linezolid, Lithium, Local anesthetics, Lomefloxacin, Lorazepam, Loxapine, Maprotiline, Mefenamic acid, Mefloquine, Megestrol, Memantine, Meperidine, Mephobarbital, Meropenem, Methocarbamol, Methohexital, Methotrexate, Methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta, Methylphenidate, Methylprednisolone, Methylxanthines, Metoclopramide, Metronidazole, Mexiletine, Mianserin, Minocycline hydrochloride, Mirtazapine, Mitoxantrone, miltefosine, Modafinil, Molindone, Montelukast, Moxifloxacin, Muromonab-CD3, Mycophenolate, Nabilone, Nalidixic acid, Nelarabine, Nikethamide, Nomifensine, Norfloxacin, Nortriptyline, Ofloxacin,Omacetaxine, Olanzapine, Ondansetron, Oxacillin, Oxaprozin, Oxcarbazepine, Oxybutynin, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, Oxytocin, Paroxetine, Paregoric, Penicillins, Pentamidine Isethionate, Pentazocine, Pergolide, Perphenazine, Phencyclidine, Phenobarbital, *Peginterferon Beta-1a,permethrin,Phenothiazines, Phenylpropanolamine, Pimozide, Piperacillin, Pramipexole, Praziquantel, Prednisone, Primidone, Procainamide, Procaine, Promethazine, Propoxyphene, Propranolol, Protriptyline, Prochlorperazine, Pyrimethamine, Quetiapine, Ramelteon, Rasagiline, Reye's Syndrome, Risperidone, Rivastigmine, Ropinirole, Selegiline, Serotonin reuptake inhibitors, Sertraline, Sibutramine, Sildenafil, Sodium oxydate, Sodium oxybate, Sodium sulfate, potassium sulfate and magnesium sulfate Strychnine, Sumatriptan, Sulfasalazine, Tacrine, Tacrolimus, Tadalafil, Terbutaline, Temazepam, Temozolomide, Terbutaline, Thalidomide, Thebaine, Theophylline, Thioridazine, Thiothixene, Tiagabine, Ticarcillin, Ticlopidine, Tinidazole, Tizanidine, Tolcapone, Tolterodine, Torsemide, Tramadol, Tranylcypromine, Triazolam, Tricyclic antidepressants, Trifluoperazine, Trihexyphenidyl, Valacyclovir, Valsartan, Vardenafil, Venlafaxine, Verapamil, Vincristine, Zaleplon, Zanamivir, Ziconotide, Zidovudine, Ziprasidone, Zolpidem
Ear Nose Throat Rhinophyma
Endocrine Barakat syndrome, Dysmorphism-hypogonadism-diabetes complex, Estrogen, Hyperglycemia, Hyperthyroidism, Hypoglycemia, Hypoparathyroidism, Hypothalamic-pituitary insufficiency, Hypothyroidism, KCNJ11-related permanent neonatal diabetes, Metabolic encephalopathy, Neonatal hypoglycemia, Neurocutaneous syndromes
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic Alveolar Hydatid Disease, Hepatic failure
Genetic 17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase X deficiency, 2-Hydroxyglutaricaciduria, 2-methylbutyryl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency, 22Q11 microdeletion, 6-Pyruvoyl tetrahydropterin synthase deficiency, Adenylosuccinate lyase deficiency, ADNFLE mutation, Aicardi Goutieres syndrome, Alexander disease, Alpha-L-iduronidase deficiency, Alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase deficiency, Aminomethyltransferase deficiency, Angelman syndrome, Arginase deficiency, Arginine:glycine amidinotransferase deficiency, Arginosuccinate synthetase deficiency, ARX (Aristaless-related homeobox) mutations, Athabaskan brain stem dysgenesis, ATP6V0A2-related cutis laxa, Autosomal dominant lateral temporal epilepsy (ADLTE), Autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (ADNFLE), Barakat syndrome, Benign familial infantile convulsions, Benign familial infantile epilepsy, Benign familial neonatal convulsions, Benign familial neonatal seizure, Benign familial neonatal seizures, Benign infantile familial convulsions, Benign neonatal convulsions, Benign neonatal epilepsy, Benign partial epilepsy in infancy, Bifunctional peroxisomal enzyme deficiency, CADASIL syndrome, Carbamoylphosphate synthetase deficiency, Carbohydrate deficiency glycoprotein syndrome, Carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency, Cerebral dysgenesis associated with inborn errors of metabolism, Christianson syndrome, Chromosome 12p tetrasomy syndrome, Chromosome 14 ring syndrome, Chromosome 15q triplication syndrome, Chromosome 15q13.3 microdeletion syndrome, Chromosome 17q21.31 deletion syndrome, Chromosome 20 ring syndrome, Chromosome 4p trisomy, Chromosome 7q deletion syndrome, Chromosome 9q deletion syndrome, CK syndrome, Combined malonic and methylmalonic aciduria, Cystathionine beta-synthase deficiency, D-2-hydroxyglutarate dehydrogenase deficiency, D-glycerate kinase deficiency, DEND syndrome, Dihydropteridine reductase deficiency, Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase deficiency, Diomedi-Bernardi-Placidi syndrome, Down's Syndrome, EBN1 mutation, EBN2 mutation, Familial Encephalopathy with neuroserpin inclusion bodies, Familial Febrile Convulsions, Familial infantile convulsions/paroxysmal choreoathetosis, Familial porencephaly, Fructose-1-phosphate aldolase deficiency, Fucosidosis, Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy, Fukuyama type muscular dystrophy, Fumarate hydratase deficiency, Galactosialidosis, Gamma-aminobutyrate transaminase deficiency, Gangliosidosis, Gaucher's Disease, GEFS+ mutation, Generalized epilepsy with febrile seizures plus, Glutamate decarboxylase deficiency, Glutathione synthase deficiency, Glycerol kinase deficiency, Glycine decarboxylase deficiency, Glycogen storage diseases, Griscelli syndrome type 2, Guanidinoacetate methyltransferase deficiency, Hartnup disease, Huntington's Chorea, Hydroxyacyl-coa dehydrogenase deficiency, Hyperornithinaemia-hyperammonaemia-homocitrullinuria syndrome, Incontinentia pigmenti achromians, Infant epilepsy with migrant focal crisis, Infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy, Infantile-onset spinocerebellar ataxia, KCNJ11-related permanent neonatal diabetes, L-2-hydroxyglutarate dehydrogenase deficiency, LAMA2-related muscular dystrophy, Malonyl-CoA decarboxylase deficiency, Maple syrup urine disease, MELAS syndrome, MERRF syndrome, Methionine malabsorption, Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency, Microcephaly-mental retardation-spasticity-epilepsy complex, Microcephaly-pontocerebellar hypoplasia-dyskinesia complex, Microphthalmia-dermal aplasia-sclerocornea syndrome, Migrating partial seizures of infancy, Mitochondrial aspartyl-tRNA synthetase deficiency, Mitochondrial complex III deficiency, Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, Monosomy 1p36 syndrome, Mucolipidosis II alpha/beta, Neurocutaneous syndromes, Neuroectodermal melanolysosomal disease, Neurofibromatosis type 1, Nonketotic hyperglycemia, Oculocerebrocutaneous syndrome, OFD syndrome type IX, Ohtahara syndrome, Onychodystrophy, Ornithine carbamyltransferase deficiency, Organic acidemia, Pantothenate kinase associated neurodegeneration, Partington X-linked mental retardation, PEHO syndrome, Peroxisomal acyl-CoA oxidase deficiency, Peroxisomal disorders, Phenylketonuria, Phosphoethanolaminuria, Porphobilinogen synthase deficiency, Pyridoxine-5'-phosphate oxidase deficiency, Pyruvate carboxylase deficiency, Pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency, Ramon syndrome, Recessive deafness-onychodystrophy-osteodystrophy-retardation syndrome, Rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata, Romano-Ward syndrome, Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, Rud syndrome, Salla disease, Sandhoff disease, Sanjad-Sakati syndrome, Schaefer-Stein-Oshman syndrome, SeSAME syndrome, Short chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase, Sialidosis type 1, Sickle cell crisis, Sjogren-Larsson syndrome, Sphingomyelinase deficiency, Spinocerebellar ataxia 13, Sturge-Weber syndrome, Succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency, Succinyl-CoA synthetase deficiency, Tuberous sclerosis, Tyrosinaemia type 2, Unverricht-Lundborg syndrome, Urea cycle disorders, Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome, X-linked Hamel type Neurodegenerative syndrome, X-linked Hypoparathyroidism, X-linked inherited conditions, X-linked Lissencephaly, X-linked mental retardation, X-linked Mental retardation syndromic due to JARID1C mutation, X-linked periventricular heterotopia, X-linked Wittwer type Mental retardation, Zellweger spectrum, Zunich neuroectodermal syndrome
Hematologic Acute intermittent porphyria, Chester porphyria, Porphyria, Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
Iatrogenic Aqueous iodinated contrast agents, DTP vaccine, Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, Hyperbaric oxygen, MMR vaccine
Infectious Disease Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, Alveolar Hydatid Disease, Ascariasis, Brain abscess, Central nervous system infection, Cysticercosis, Cytomegalovirus, Encephalitis, German measles, HIV, Intracranial abscess or granuloma, Malaria, Viral meningitis, Meningitis, Meningoencephalitis, Neurocysticercosis, Neurosyphilis, Paragonimiasis, Rabies, Ramsay Hunt syndrome, Schistosoma japonicum, Schistosomiasis, Syphilis, TORCH syndromes, Toxoplasmosis, Trypanosomiasis
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic

No underlying causes

Neurologic Absence seizure, Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, Acute neonatal encephalopathy, Aicardi Goutieres syndrome, Alexander disease, Alpers disease, Alveolar Hydatid Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, Arterial ischemic stroke, Arteriovenous malformation, Astrocytoma, Athabaskan brain stem dysgenesis, Atonic seizure, Autonomic seizure, Autosomal dominant lateral temporal epilepsy (ADLTE), Autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (ADNFLE), Barakat syndrome, Battaglia Neri syndrome, Belgian type mental retardation, Belgian type Mental retardation syndrome, Benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes, Benign childhood occipital seizures, Benign familial infantile convulsions, Benign familial infantile epilepsy, Benign familial neonatal convulsions, Benign familial neonatal seizure, Benign familial neonatal seizures, Benign infantile familial convulsions, Benign neonatal convulsions, Benign neonatal epilepsy, Benign partial epilepsy in infancy, Benign occipital epilepsy of childhood (Gastaut syndrome), Benign Rolandic epilepsy, Borjeson-Forssman-Lehmann syndrome, Brachydactyly-mental retardation syndrome, Brain abscess, Brain cancer, Brain hemorrhage, Brain injury, CADASIL syndrome, Carotid Sinus Syndrome, Catamenial epilepsy, Cavernoma, Cavernous haemangioma, Central nervous system infection, Cerebellar dyssynergia, Cerebral Aneurysm, Cerebral dysgenesis, Cerebral dysgenesis associated with inborn errors of metabolism, Cerebral infarction, Cerebral Palsy, Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, Cerebrovascular disease, Ceroid lipofuscinosis, Christianson syndrome, Clonic seizures, Concussion, Congenital muscular dystrophy, Coproporphyria, Cornelia de Lange syndrome 2, Corpus callosum hypoplasia, Cortical dysplasia, Craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, Craniofacial dysmorphism-polysyndactyly syndrome, Creatine deficiency syndrome, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease,

Crome syndrome, Dandy-Walker syndrome, Deafness-congenital onychodystrophy, Degenerative disease, Dementia, DEND syndrome, Dentatorubropallidoluysian degeneration, Double cortex syndrome, Down's Syndrome, Dyke-Davidoff-Masson syndrome, Dysmorphism-hypogonadism-diabetes complex, Early infantile epileptic encephalopathy, Early myoclonic encephalopathy, East Syndrome, Eclampsia, Embolism, Encephalitis, Epidermal nevus syndrome, Epidural haemorrhage, Epilepsy-mental deterioration, Epilepsy-microcephaly-skeletal dysplasia, Epileptic encephalopathy, Episodic ataxia, Familial Encephalopathy with neuroserpin inclusion bodies, Familial Febrile Convulsions, Familial infantile convulsions/paroxysmal choreoathetosis, Familial porencephaly, Fat embolism, Fatty acid hydroxylase-associated neurodegeneration, Febrile convulsion, Febrile Seizures, Febrile seizures in children, Feigenbaum-Bergeron-Richardson syndrome, Flynn-Aird syndrome, Focal cortical dysplasia, Folate malabsorption, Fryns-Aftimos syndrome, Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy, Fukuyama type muscular dystrophy, Fumarate hydratase deficiency, Galactosialidosis, Gamma-aminobutyrate transaminase deficiency, Gangliosidosis, Gaucher's Disease, Giant axonal neuropathy, Gurrieri-Sammito-Bellussi syndrome, Haw River syndrome, Head injury, Head trauma, Heat stroke, Hemimegalencephaly, Hippocampal sclerosis, Hirschsprung disease-microcephaly-mental retardation syndrome, Huntington's Chorea, Hyperornithinaemia-hyperammonaemia-homocitrullinuria syndrome, Incontinentia pigmenti achromians, Incontinentia pigmenti (Bloch Sulzberger syndrome), Infant epilepsy with migrant focal crisis, Infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy, Infantile-onset spinocerebellar ataxia, Intracranial abscess or granuloma, Intracranial hemorrhage, Intracranial space-occupying lesion, Intraventricular hemorrhage, Kernicterus, KCNJ11-related permanent neonatal diabetes, Kohlschutter syndrome, Kohlschutter-Tonz syndrome, Lafora body disease, Landau-Kleffner syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Linear sebaceous nevus, Lipoid proteinosis of Urbach and Wiethe, Lissencephaly, Lissencephaly with cerebellar hypoplasia, McDowall syndrome, McLeod neuroacanthocytosis syndrome, Meningioma, Meningitis, Meningoencephalitis, Metabolic encephalopathy, Microcephaly, Microcephaly-mental retardation-spasticity-epilepsy complex, Microcephaly-pontocerebellar hypoplasia-dyskinesia complex, Microphthalmia-dermal aplasia-sclerocornea syndrome, Migrating partial seizures of infancy, Migraine, Miller-Dieker syndrome, Movement disorders, Mowat-Wilson syndrome, Multiple sclerosis, Muscle-eye-brain disease, Myoclonic progressive familial epilepsy, Myoclonus progressive epilepsy of Unverricht and Lundborg, Nasu-Hakola disease, Navajo neurohepatopathy, Neurocutaneous syndromes, Neurocysticercosis, Neurodegenerative disorders, Neurodevelopmental lesions, Neuroectodermal melanolysosomal disease, Neurofibromatosis type 1, Neurosyphilis, Nicolaides-Baraitser syndrome, Nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy, Oculocerebrocutaneous syndrome, Panayiotopoulos syndrome, Paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis, Paroxysmal dyskinesia, Parry-Romberg syndrome, Perisylvian syndrome, Photosensitive epilepsy, Pick's Disease, Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, Pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 1, Pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2a, Pontocerebellar hypoplasia with infantile spinal muscular atrophy, Porencephaly type 1, Posterior leucoencephalopathy syndrome, Presenile dementia, Rasmussen encephalitis, Renier-Gabreels-Jasper syndrome, Retinitis pigmentosa-polyneuropathy-epilepsy complex, Rett syndrome, Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome, Schizencephaly, Seemanova-Lesny syndrome, Sinovenous thrombosis, Sotos syndrome, Space occupying lesion of the brain, Spastic tetraplegic, Stokes-Adams Syndrome, Stroke, Structural lesions, Subdural hemorrhage, Subependymal nodular heterotopia, Sudanophilic cerebral sclerosis, Temporal lobe epilepsy, Tonic seizure, Tonic-Clonic seizure, Transient Ischemic Attack, Tuberous sclerosis, Van der Knaap disease, Vasovagal syncope, Vein of Galen malformation, Vertebrobasilar dolichoectasia, Walker-Warburg syndrome, West syndrome, Wittwer sydnrome, Worster-Drought syndrome, Zellweger spectrum, Zunich neuroectodermal syndrome

Nutritional/Metabolic

No underlying causes

Obstetric/Gynecologic Birth hypoxia, Childbirth trauma, Endometriosis
Oncologic Astrocytoma, Brain cancer, Cavernoma, Cavernous haemangioma, Meningioma, Paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis, Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity Aluminium toxicity, Folic acid
Psychiatric Autism, Panic attack
Pulmonary Breath-holding spells, Hyperventilation, Respiratory failure
Renal/Electrolyte Alkalosis, Barakat syndrome, Chronic Renal Failure, Dialysis disequilibrium syndrome, Hypernatremia, Hypocalcemia, Hypomagnesemia, Hyponatremia, Hypophosphatemia, Renal failure, Uremia
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy Aicardi Goutieres syndrome, Lupus erythematosus, Paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis, Polyarteritis nodosa, Rasmussen encephalitis, Takayasu arteritis
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Childbirth trauma, Concussion, Perinatal trauma, Trauma
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Asphyxiation, Besnier-Boeck-Schaumann disease, Binaural beat brainwave entrainment, Cholestanol storage disease, Fever, Flickering or flashing lights, Missed dose, Neonatal hypoglycemia, Night terrors, Pediatric apnea, Pellagra, Pyridoxine deficiency, Pyridoxine-dependent epilepsy, Sarcoidosis, Sleep deprivation, Sleep disorders, Stress, Syncope, Vitamin B1 deficiency (Thiamine deficiency), Vitamin B12 depletion (Pyridoxine deficiency), Withdrawal from drugs

Causes in Alphabetical Order

Secondary seizures

  • Hypoxia
  • Metabolic abnormalities
  • Infection
  • Cerebrovascular etiologies
  • Drug effects, withdrawal, intoxication
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
  • Febrile seizures in children
  • Structural lesions
  • Inborn errors of metabolism

Nonepileptic seizures

Unprovoked seizures

Unprovoked seizures are often associated with epilepsy and related seizure disorders.

Provoked seizures

Triggers

Alcohol consumption

There are varying opinions on the likelihood of alcoholic beverages triggering a seizure. Consuming alcohol may temporarily reduce the likelihood of a seizure immediately following consumption. But after the blood alcohol content has dropped, chances may increase. This may occur, even in non-epileptics.[2]

Heavy drinking in particular has been shown to possibly have some effect on seizures in epileptics. But studies have not found light drinking to increase the likelihood of having a seizure at all.[citation needed] EEGs taken of patients immediately following light alcohol consumption have not revealed any increase in seizure activity.[3]

Consuming alcohol with food is less likely to trigger a seizure than consuming it without.[4]

Consuming alcohol while using many anticonvulsants may reduce the likelihood of the medication working properly. In some cases, it may actually trigger a seizure. Depending on the medication, the effects vary.[5]

Alcohol withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is also responsible for seizures. This risk increases with each additional drink from which one has withdrawn.[6]

Caffeine

Caffeine use can increase the occurrence of seizures, particularly if it interrupts normal sleep patterns.

Diet

Diet can play a role in a seizure occurring, and therefore, diet control in some cases can be used to prevent seizures.[7] It is not known exactly what nutrients or lack thereof may contribute to or prevent a seizure. However, the ketogenic diet is practiced by some in order to control seizures.

Diseases

Those with various medical conditions may suffer seizures as one of their symptoms. These include:

Drugs

Some drugs may lower the seizure threshold when used doses intended for recreation. Drugs such as tramadol and methamphetamine have been noted to induce seizures in some, especially when used for long periods of time or in combination with other stimulants. Some drugs may reduce the risk of a seizure occurring. Withdrawals from drugs that act on the GABA receptors may lead to grand-mal seizures in people who have been heavily abusing drugs from the barbiturate or benzodiazepine families.

Fever

In children under the age of 5, fever of 102°F (39°C) or higher can lead to a seizure (usually tonic-clonic) known as a febrile seizure.

About 2-5% of all children will experience such a seizure during their childhood. Most of these children will also have some pre-existing neurological problem.[8]

In most cases, a febrile seizure will not lead to epilepsy. But 30-40% of children who experience a febrile seizure will have more seizures in the future.[9]

In adults and older children with epilepsy, illnesses with fever can be responsible for a seizure due to the stress that they cause. Additionally, in some patients, gastroenteritis, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, can lead to diminished absorption of anticonvulsants, thereby reducing protection against seizures.[10]

[11]

Flickering or flashing lights

In some epileptics, flickering or flashing lights, such as strobe lights, can be responsible for the onset of a tonic clonic, absence, or myoclonic seizure.[12] This condition is known as photosensitive epilepsy, and in some cases, the seizures can be triggered by activities that are harmless to others, such as watching television or playing video games, or by driving or riding during daylight along a road with spaced trees, thereby simulating the "flashing light" effect. Some people can suffer a seizure as a result of blinking one's own eyes.[13] Contrary to popular belief, this form of epilepsy is relatively uncommon, accounting for just 3% of all cases.[14] In all other epileptics, such lights are no more capable of triggering a seizure than in a non-epileptic person.[citation needed]

A routine part of the EEG test involves exposing the patient to flickering lights in order to attempt to induce a seizure, to determine if such lights may be triggering a seizure in the patient, and to be able to read the wavelengths when such a seizure occurs.[15]

Head Injury

A severe head injury, such as one suffered in a motor vehicle accident, fall, assault, or sports injury, can result in one or more seizures that can occur immediately after the fact or up to a significant amount of time later.[16][17] This could be hours, days, or even years following the injury.

A brain injury can cause seizure(s) because of the unusual amount of energy that is discharged across of the brain when the injury occurs and thereafter. When there is damage to the temporal lobe of the brain, there is a disruption of the supply of oxygen.[18]

The risk of seizure(s) from a closed head injury is about 15%.[19] In some cases, a patient who has suffered a head injury is given anticonvulsants, even if no seizures have occurred, as a precaution to prevent them in the future.[20]

Hypoglycemia

Menstrual Cycle

See Catamenial epilepsy

Other medications

Seizures may be a side effect of certain drugs, though with most, the effect is quite rare, and for most patients, they are safe. These include:[21]

Sudden withdrawal from anticonvulsants may lead to seizures. It is for this reason that if a patient's medication is changed, the patient will be weaned from the medication being discontinued following the start of a new medication.

Use of certain street drugs may also lead to seizures. These include amphetamines, cocaine, methylphenidate, and phenylpropanolamine (not all of the drugs pictured).[27]

If treated with the wrong kind medication antiepileptic drugs (AED), seizures may increase, as most AEDs are developed to treat a particular type of seizure.

Missed dose

A missed dose or incorrectly timed dose of an anticonvulsant may be responsible for a breakthrough seizure, even if the patient has often missed doses in the past, and has not suffered a seizure as a result of the missed dose.[28] Missed doses are one of the most common reasons for a breakthrough seizure. Even a single missed dose is capable of triggering a seizure in some patients.[29] This is true, even when the patient has not suffered a seizure after previously missing much more of his/her medication. Doubling the next dose does not necessarily help.

Missed doses can occur as a result of the patient's forgetfulness, unplanned lack of access to the medication, difficulty in affording the medication, or self-rationing of the medication when one's supply is low, among other causes.

Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is the second most common trigger of seizures.[30] In some cases, it has been responsible for the only seizure a person ever suffers.[31] However, the reason for which sleep deprivation can trigger a seizure is unknown. One possible thought is that the amount of sleep one gets affects the amount of electrical activity in one's brain.[32]

Patients who are scheduled for an EEG test are asked to deprive themselves of some sleep the night before in order to be able to determine if sleep deprivation may be responsible for seizures.[33]

In some cases, patients with epilepsy are advised to sleep 6-7 consecutive hours as opposed to broken-up sleep (e.g. 6 hours at night and a 2-hour nap) and to avoid caffeine and sleeping pills in order to prevent seizures.[34]

Stress

In one study, emotional stress was reported by 30-60% prior to their seizures, thereby being the leading cause.[35] This may include stress over hard work one is trying to accomplish, one's obligations in life, worries, emotional problems, frustration, anger, anxiety, or many other problems.[36]

Stress may trigger a seizure because it affects the hormone cortisol. Stress can also affect the part of the brain that regulates emotion.[37][38] Although stress can alter levels of these hormones, it remains unclear whether or not stress can directly result in an increase in seizure frequency.

See also

References

  1. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/about/types/triggers/livingtrigger.cfm
  2. http://books.google.com/books?id=TwlXrOBkAS8C&pg=PA78&lpg=PA78&dq=excessive+drinking+epilepsy&source=bl&ots=yTWUaL7bDL&sig=N2ZAcCqu1dLXoPOMRvc2MUka4w4&hl=en&ei=2NHCSpKTHMjPlAfL853IBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8
  3. http://books.google.com/books?id=8cqg47-_gr8C&pg=PA92&dq=excessive+drinking+epilepsy&as_brr=3&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  4. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/living/wellness/alcohol/
  5. http://books.google.com/books?id=8cqg47-_gr8C&pg=PA93&lpg=PA92&dq=excessive+drinking+epilepsy&as_brr=3&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  6. http://books.google.com/books?id=4SOA3rg5DK0C&pg=PA63&lpg=PA61&dq=sleep+deprivation+seizure&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  7. http://books.google.com/books?id=imlgt9ziOqYC&pg=PA4&dq=malnutrition+seizure&lr=&as_brr=3&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  8. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/seizures_and_fever/page2_em.htm
  9. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/seizures_and_fever/article_em.htm
  10. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Seizure_trigger&action=edit
  11. http://books.google.com/books?id=4SOA3rg5DK0C&pg=PA67&dq=fever+seizure&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  12. http://books.google.com/books?id=gLOv8XZ5u48C&pg=PA129&lpg=PA128&dq=flickering+lights+seizure&as_brr=3&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  13. http://books.google.com/books?id=saFkKlDazIAC&pg=PA16&lpg=PA13&dq=flickering+lights+seizure&as_brr=3&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  14. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0816/is_3_22/ai_n16033477/
  15. http://books.google.com/books?id=saFkKlDazIAC&pg=PA16&lpg=PA13&dq=flickering+lights+seizure&as_brr=3&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  16. http://www.braininjury.com/seizuresandheadinjury.html
  17. http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec06/ch087/ch087a.html
  18. http://books.google.com/books?id=kicB_2cfFoUC&pg=PA124&lpg=PA125&dq=head+injury+seizure&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  19. http://books.google.com/books?id=wHS_97NyMsYC&pg=PA107&dq=head+injury+seizure&lr=&as_brr=3&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  20. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/answerplace/Medical/seizures/causes/headinjury.cfm
  21. http://professionals.epilepsy.com/table/table_seniors_drugs.html
  22. 100 Questions & Answers About Epilepsy, Anuradha Singh, page 79
  23. Keyser A, De Bruijn SF. Epileptic manifestations and vitamin B1 deficiency. Eur Neurol. 1991;31(3):121-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2044623
  24. Fattal-Valevski A, Bloch-Mimouni A, Kivity S, Heyman E, Brezner A, Strausberg R, Inbar D, Kramer U, Goldberg-Stern H. Epilepsy in children with infantile thiamine deficiency. Neurology. 2009 Sep 15;73(11):828-33. Epub 2009 Jul 1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19571254
  25. Vitamin B-6 Dependency Syndromes ; Author: Anjali Parish, MD; Chief Editor: Jatinder Bhatia, MBBS. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/985667-overview
  26. Folic Acid and Epilepsy, Martha J. Morrell, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC320966/
  27. http://professionals.epilepsy.com/table/table_seniors_drugs.html
  28. http://books.google.com/books?id=4SOA3rg5DK0C&pg=PA120&dq=%22missed+dose%22seizure&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  29. http://books.google.com/books?id=y13wgJyQwkEC&pg=PA230&dq=%22missed+dose%22seizure&lr=&as_brr=3&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  30. http://books.google.com/books?id=TwlXrOBkAS8C&pg=PA77&lpg=PA77&dq=sleep+deprivation+seizure&source=bl&ots=yTWUaL8ewI&sig=W9OJxQJoIt3Oo4XCWYHEVOlWbFg&hl=en&ei=o9bCSobBJ8zQlAfXranoBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10
  31. http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/provoke_sleepdep
  32. http://books.google.com/books?id=4SOA3rg5DK0C&pg=PA61&dq=sleep+deprivation+seizure&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  33. http://books.google.com/books?id=iQQ1jMtU6HwC&pg=PA136&dq=sleep+deprivation+seizure&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  34. http://books.google.com/books?id=4SOA3rg5DK0C&pg=PA62&lpg=PA61&dq=sleep+deprivation+seizure&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  35. http://books.google.com/books?id=TwlXrOBkAS8C&pg=PA77&dq=stress+seizure&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  36. http://books.google.com/books?id=Q4QQAjtLP80C&pg=PA39&dq=stress+seizure&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  37. http://books.google.com/books?id=4SOA3rg5DK0C&pg=PA66&dq=stress+seizure&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html
  38. http://books.google.com/books?id=6lvXGInU2REC&pg=PA69&dq=stress+seizure&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html

Template:Seizures and epilepsy

References

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