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What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a common, chronic disease involving seizures, or sudden bursts of electrical activity in the brain. Sometimes people have seizures for no obvious reason. Other times, things like stress, alcohol or drug use, flashing lights, or not getting enough sleep can cause seizures. What seizures feel like, their outward symptoms, and how often they occur vary from person to person.

How is epilepsy treated?

There is no cure for epilepsy, but medicines and other treatments can prevent seizures from occurring and reduce their impact on your life. A variety of medicines are available--the type(s) that work best for you may depend on your age, gender, overall health, and other factors. Treatment can also include changes to your work schedule, diet, and sleep habits to make seizures less likely. For some people surgery, or implanted devices to control seizures may be an option.

To read more about treatment options at Duke, or to schedule an appointment, click here.