Seizure disorders affect an average of one in 26 people in the United States. People who have chronic seizures known as epilepsy require treatment even if their symptoms are mild, since seizures are unpredictable and can place the patient at risk of serious injury.
Many patients see significant relief from their symptoms using medication, while others may suffer effects that make this common neurological disorder disabling.
Types of Seizures and Complications Suffered by Epilepsy Patients
Epilepsy patients experience many different kinds of seizures, which can occur both when the patient is awake or asleep. Seizures are classified by how much of the brain is affected and the extent and seriousness of the symptoms, including:
- Simple partial seizures. Patients remain fully conscious throughout simple partial seizures, and may experience nausea, disorientation, déjà vu, strange smells or tastes, numbness or tingling in the arms and legs, and twitching in part of the body. These seizures may precede a second seizure that's more complex.
- Complex partial seizures. These seizures often involve many of the same symptoms as simple seizures, but patients often cannot remember what happened or even where they are after the seizure has passed.
- Absences. Absence seizures cause a patient to lose awareness for up to a minute, and may stare into space or smack their lips during the episode. These seizures can happen several times a day.
- Clonic seizures. Patients may lose consciousness as they suffer this twitching of the arms and legs for several minutes, a condition known as myoclonic jerks.
- Atonic seizures. Unlike seizures that cause muscles to react, atonic seizures cause all of the body’s muscles to relax, placing a patient at risk of fall injuries.
- Tonic seizures. Tonic seizures cause all of a patient’s muscles to stiffen. In a tonic-clonic seizure, a patient may become stiff before beginning to convulse. A patient may lose consciousness or be unable to control his or her bodily functions during the episode.
Many people who suffer from uncontrollable seizures will have difficulty in all areas of life, including driving, living independently, and earning a living. If you have a seizure disorder, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up your consultation with a Social Security attorney.