National Epilepsy Week 2023

Mon 15th May - Sun 21st May 2023

United Kingdom

Supported by Epilepsy Action, National Epilepsy Week aims to raise awareness about epilepsy and gather support for people with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a condition in which a person experiences recurrent seizures. Also referred to as 'fits', seizures are caused by a sudden increase of excess electrical activity within the brain. An increase in electrical activity within the brain is known as 'epileptic activity'. Excess electrical activity interferes with the normal function of the brain causing a temporary interruption of messages which pass between brain cells.

As the brain controls all of the bodily functions, how epilepsy affects the body will depend on the electrical signals being disrupted. The area of the body affected by epilepsy and how widespread it is will vary from person to person; the way people experience epilepsy is unique. Epilepsy is diagnosed after a person has experienced at least two seizures.

As different parts of the brain can be affected by epilepsy (and also different parts of the body), there are many recognized types of seizure. Seizures are often classified based on the part of the brain where the disruptive excess electrical activity occurs. Focal seizures occur in specific parts of the brain whilst generalized seizures can affect both hemispheres (both sides of the brain).

In some cases, focal seizures can spread to other parts of the brain becoming a generalized seizure. Focal seizures can cause certain areas of the body to not function properly when the person is conscious; a person may experience movements or feelings and sensations they can't control. On some occasions, people may not notice another person experiencing a focal seizure.

Generalized seizures can be more dramatic. A person may lose consciousness whilst the muscles in the body stiffen and/or jerk. A person experiencing a generalized seizure may also fall down.

Over the years there have been different themes for National Epilepsy Week.

For more information, visit the National Epilepsy Week webpage.