You are here:

About epilepsy

Published on


Mel Allen who has epilepsy and her family

Over 600,000 people in the UK have epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a common and serious neurological condition which affects the brain and nervous system. Seizures always start in the brain and are caused by many different underlying causes, including a person's genetics, a structural change in the brain or from other underlying conditions.

There are over 40 different types of seizure, and not all of them are physical which is why epilepsy can also be an invisible condition.

On this page you'll find information around all aspects of epilepsy including causes, triggers, diagnosing epilepsy and treatment.

Shown on the right is Mel Allen with her family. Mel was diagnosed with epilepsy and found treatment and support from Epilepsy Society.


What is epilepsy?

Epileptic seizures

There are many different types of epileptic seizure. Any of us could potentially have a single epileptic seizure at some point in our lives. This is not the same as having epilepsy, which is a tendency to have seizures that start in the brain. 

How do you diagnose epilepsy?

Reactions to a diagnosis

People can react differently to a diagnosis. You might feel lots of different emotions. It may not be possible to think and feel positively, or you may feel fine one minute, and upset or angry the next. It may be helpful to know that this is a common way to feel.

Wooden sign

Just diagnosed

This booklet was created with the help of people with epilepsy, and includes their views and experiences,  and their quotes at the bottom of some of the pages.  It also includes information on topics people told us  they would have found helpful when they were diagnosed with epilepsy. 

How do you treat epilepsy?

Looking after your wellbeing

Do you know what to do if someone has a seizure?

Are you #seizuresavvy?

Our #seizuresavvy campaign focuses on tonic clonic seizures as these are the type of seizure that are most easily recognised. The charity’s new campaign gives people three simple but key instructions to remember in an emergency: “Calm, Cushion, Call.”

Christina Marshall

Personal stories

Find out more from people who have been affected by epilepsy in our inspiring personal stories section. 

What is epilepsy leaflet

Want to know more?

Order or download our what is epilepsy? leaflet:

Download the PDF

Order the leaflet from our shop

Information produced: January 2019