What Causes Seizures? Epileptic vs. Non-Epileptic Seizures\nEpilepsy is commonly thought of as the primary cause of seizures. However, there are different types of seizures, or episodes that look like seizures, that are not caused by faulty electrical signals in the brain.\nWe commonly think of someone falling down and shaking violently or having stiff, jerky movements when having a seizure. But a seizure doesn’t always cause a person to lose consciousness. Sometimes, the person may:\n\nStare into space\nHave muscle spasms\nMake involuntary movements\nHave disruptions to his or her speech, movement, vision, or senses\n\nRELATED:\u00a0Epilepsy Causes and Seizure Triggers\nUnderstanding the Different Types of Seizures\nFocal Epilepsy and Partial Seizures\nEpileptic seizures occur when there are abnormal bursts of electricity in the brain. These bursts disrupt the brain’s normal function and lead to some loss of consciousness or impaired senses.\nTypes of Epileptic Seizures\nPeople with epilepsy may experience one of two main types of seizures: generalized or partial.\nGeneralized seizures occur across the entire surface of the brain rather than a specific location. These are less common and tend to be because of genetic factors.\nMost adults with epilepsy experience partial seizures, which begin in a specific region of the brain. These seizures can result from:\n\nBrain injury\nStroke\nBrain tumor\nDiseases that affect the brain\n\nPartial seizures can last from 30 seconds to a few minutes.\nEpilepsy is diagnosed by a brain scan such as an electroencephalogram (EEG). These scans will show the abnormal electrical activity and whether a tumor or injury is causing the trouble. With a diagnosis of epilepsy, medications are usually the first choice to lessen the frequency of seizures. Surgery may also be necessary if there is a brain tumor or lesion present.\nRELATED:\u00a0Infographic: Seizure First Aid\nNon-epileptic Seizures\nNon-epileptic seizures appear the same as those from epilepsy:\n\nImpaired or jerky movements\nTunnel vision\nA tingling sensation in the skin\nTemporary blindness\n\nOther symptoms may also occur. However, with these seizures the central nervous system is not involved.\nCauses of Non-Epileptic Seizures\nNon-epileptic seizures have a range of causes including:\n\nFever\nInfection\nElectrolyte imbalance\nWithdrawal from drugs or alcohol\nExtremely low blood sugar\nBrain damage from stroke, brain surgery, or head injury\n\nAlthough some causes are the same between epileptic and non-epileptic seizures, the difference your doctor will look for is whether the brain’s electrical activity is being disrupted. Results from an EEG will look differently if epilepsy is not the cause.\nYour doctor may also perform a blood test to look for infection, check electrolyte levels, and monitor kidney and liver function.\nMental illness, stress, or emotional trauma can also trigger seizures. In this case, working on the emotional and mental health of the individual is the best course of treatment.\nIt’s important to know the difference in the types of seizures before moving forward with medication or other treatment plan for your seizures. Treating non-epileptic seizures with epilepsy medications can have serious side effects.