Epilepsy is:

  • A brain disorder that involves repeated seizures (strong bursts of electrical activity in the brain)
  • A chronic medical condition, meaning it may be lifelong
  • Not passed from person to person
  • Not a mental disorder

Just because a person has seizures does not mean that a person has epilepsy.

Remember: A seizure is an event. Epilepsy is the actual condition.

The 3 Definitions of Epilepsy

Epilepsy with a known cause of the seizures

If a person has at least 2 seizures more than a day apart with no known cause

If a person has at least 1 seizure with no known cause, but has other medical conditions making it likely to have more seizures (person is considered high risk)

A person does not have epilepsy if they have been seizure-free for the last 10 years. This means you could have a seizure when you were 12 and again when you were 35 and not have epilepsy.

Just because you have had a seizure, does not mean you have epilepsy.