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Epilepsy in Children: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a condition of the brain which can trigger an individual to have seizures. These seizures create a disturbance in the brain’s neuronal activity, causing unusual behaviors, sensations, and emotions. Epilepsy can affect both adults and children alike, regardless of race or ethnic backgrounds. When nerve cells in the brain interrupt normal brain signals, a seizure can occur. Seizures can arise from; a high fever, high or low blood sugar, or even a brain concussion. If your child has experienced a seizure for one of the above reasons, it does not necessarily mean they will be diagnosed with epilepsy however when a child has two or more seizures with no underlying cause, an epilepsy diagnosis is more likely.

If you have concerns about epilepsy in your child or if your child has been recently diagnosed, read more about the symptoms, causes, and treatments down below.


Epilepsy Symptoms in Children:

Depending on the type of seizure your child is experiencing, symptoms may vary. It is common for lips to become tinted blue and abnormal breathing to occur during a seizure. After a seizure, your child may be confused or tired. The general symptoms and signs that your child may be having a seizure include:

  • Experiencing confusion
  • Rapid staring and eye blinking
  • Suddenly falling and/or losing consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing or not breathing at all
  • Stiffness of the body
  • Jerking legs and/or arms
  • Cannot control bowel movements
  • Failing to respond to noise or words

If your child has experienced any of these symptoms, it is crucial they immediately visit their healthcare provider for an official diagnosis and treatment.

Causes for Epilepsy in Children:

For many cases, the exact cause of a seizure cannot be found however, a seizure can arise from a combination or one of the following reasons:

  • A stroke
  • Brain damage; from a concussion, other injury, or illness
  • A brain tumor
  • An imbalance of neurotransmitters (nerve-signaling brain chemicals)

Treatments for Children Diagnosed with Epilepsy:

The main goal after your child has been given an epilepsy diagnosis is to reduce, control, and stop seizures from occurring. Often times, treatment is done with medicine. Before your child is prescribed medicine, their healthcare provider will need to identify what type of seizure(s) your child is having. Medication for epilepsy varies depending on the type of seizures your child is experiencing, their age, ease of use, side effects, and cost. There are oral medicines such as capsules, tablets, and syrups. Some medications can be administered into the rectum or nose and if your child is hospitalized due to seizures, the medicine may be given through an IV.

When dealing with an epilepsy diagnosis, it is important that your child is given their medicine on time and as prescribed. Be sure to discuss all possible side effects with your child’s healthcare provider and be mindful that your child may need further testing to assess their response to the medicine. Some things to expect your child to undergo include:

  • Urine tests: Urine tests are typically given to see how your child’s body is responding to the medication.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests help your child’s healthcare provider check the levels in their body. Based on your child’s levels, their healthcare provider may decide to change the dose of the medicine.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): An EEG is a procedure that is done by attaching electrodes to the scalp. These electrodes will record the brain’s electrical activity to see how the medicine is helping the electrical problems in your child’s brain.

An epilepsy diagnosis does not necessarily mean that your child will have to take medication for the rest of their life. In some cases, a child can be weaned off of medication if they have not had a seizure in over a year or two. The decision to take your child off of epilepsy medication will be made by your child’s healthcare provider. It is crucial that parents do not stop giving medicine to their children without consulting a medical professional, as this can cause more or worse seizures.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your child, know that we are here for you! Contact our office at 561-275-7100.


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