Causes of Seizures and Their Treatment
Seizures have various causes, both internal (intracranial) and external (extracranial). However, many seizures, perhaps the majority, are idiopathic. Internal causes include congenital defects, inborn errors in metabolism, infection, trauma, fever, intracranial hemorrhage, and malignancy. External causes include metabolic, electrolyte, and other biochemical disorders; anoxia; and hypoglycemia as well as excess doses of drugs or abrupt cessation of drugs. Approximately 10% of the US population has a seizure by the age of 80 years. Epilepsy, a type of seizure disorder, is a heterogeneous symptom complex characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures and affects approximately 1% of the population. For optimal drug therapy, the specific type of epilepsy should be identified. The principal mechanism of action of most current antiepileptic drugs involves action on voltagegated ion channels or on inhibitory or excitatory neurotransmitter function.