Whether you’ve just received a diagnosis of epilepsy or have been managing symptoms for years, it can feel overwhelming to deal with this chronic condition.
But there’s a path forward — and you don’t have to travel it alone.
At Ohio State’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, our entire team is determined to help you minimize or eliminate seizures to give you the upper hand.
We’ve earned the status of being a Level 4 epilepsy center — the highest rating possible — from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, which means we offer the most advanced medical and surgical epilepsy care. At the same time, we offer the ongoing resources and support you need to keep moving forward as you age and take on new challenges or even receive a diagnosis for a different medical condition.
We don’t want epilepsy to define you, but we do want to make sure your epilepsy treatment is considered and factored into other aspects of your health and well-being, both mental and physical.
It’s why we’ve created an epilepsy program that treats the whole person, with care coordinated between you and an entire team of specialists. From our epileptologists and clinical neurophysiologists– neurologists who’ve had one or two years of additional training in epilepsy – and advanced practice nurses to our nutritionists, pharmacists, social workers, neurosurgeons, and neuroradiologists - every team member at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center will work together to make sure you receive the coordinated care you need for the best possible health and most positive outlook.
The simplest description of epilepsy is that it’s a condition in which abnormal brain activity causes seizures. The abnormal brain activity begins with chemical changes in clusters of nerve cells or neurons in the brain that become very hyperexcitable. This imbalance in communication then leads to surges of electrical activity in the brain – which is what starts a seizure.
The International League Against Epilepsy has developed new terms to describe and classify seizures based on where in the brain the seizures start, what level of awareness a person has during their seizure and what types of movement or motor symptoms occur. The three major groupings are:
- Generalized onset seizures – when both sides of the brain or groups of cells on both sides of the brain are involved at the same time. This includes seizure types like tonic-clonic, absence or atonic.
- Focal onset seizures – when seizures start in one area or group of cells in one side of the brain. During this type of seizure, a person can either be awake and aware (a focal onset aware seizure) or confused with only partial awareness (focal impaired awareness seizure). The most common focal onset epilepsy is temporal lobe epilepsy.
- Unknown onset seizures – when it’s unclear what part of the brain is starting the seizure. This term may also be used if a seizure wasn’t witnessed by anyone else so it’s not completely clear what happened before or during the seizure.
If you have epilepsy, you may feel quite alone – but you’re not. In fact, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder. Approximately 3.4 million Americans live with active epilepsy, and around 150,000 new cases are diagnosed nationally every year. While people can be diagnosed at any age, epilepsy is most commonly identified in childhood or after age 65, and one in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy in their lifetime.
Yet even though there are millions of other people with epilepsy, we understand that doesn’t really give you much comfort when it’s your life that’s being interrupted by seizures.
At Ohio State’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, we’re determined to help you gain an advantage over epilepsy using a full range of the latest diagnostic tools and treatments. Because abnormal brain activity can be triggered in so many different ways, finding and treating those triggers is the key to claiming more control over your seizures.
Specialized clinics available at Ohio State
We recognize the unique needs of some of our patients with epilepsy. We’re committed to providing innovative and customized care to support unique groups of patients. Within our epilepsy care, we offer:
- Epilepsy and pregnancy clinic to best help moms who have epilepsy safely through their journey
- Epilepsy transition clinic offered in collaboration with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to move those who have epilepsy from their pediatric provider to adult care at the appropriate time
- Psychogenic Non-Epilepsy Event clinic for those patients diagnosed with PNEE
Learn more about epilepsy
Epilepsy patient story: Sheanneen Shelby
Hear from Sheanneen Shelby about living with epilepsy.