Show Summary Details
Page of

Seizures, epilepsy, and other episodic disorders in adults 

Seizures, epilepsy, and other episodic disorders in adults
Seizures, epilepsy, and other episodic disorders in adults

David Chadwick

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 11 December 2019

Epilepsy, or more correctly a seizure, is most easily defined in physiological terms, being ‘the name for occasional sudden, excessive, rapid, and local discharges of grey matter’ (Jackson 1873). It is more difficult to offer a comprehensive clinical definition of epileptic seizures and epilepsy because of the varied clinical manifestations produced by cerebral neuronal discharge. However, an epileptic seizure can be defined as an intermittent and stereotyped disturbance of consciousness, behaviour, emotion, motor function, or sensation that on clinical grounds is believed to result from cortical neuronal discharge. Epilepsy can then be defined as a condition in which seizures recur, usually spontaneously. The differential diagnosis of epilepsy is large because of the enormous range of symptoms that can occur during seizures. Inevitably, the differential diagnosis for tonic-clonic seizures is very different from that for simple partial seizures with autonomic symptoms. The most common clinical problem is the differential diagnosis from other causes of transient loss of consciousness associated with collapse, the commonest cause of which is syncope.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.