Seizures are a scary experience for you and your family. They can not only place you at risk for injury, but they can also negatively impact your quality of life. It’s important to tell others how your seizures affect you so they know how to keep you safe and what to do. Our specialists offer comprehensive care to help evaluate the cause of your condition, help you control symptoms, and lead a normal life.

Epilepsy and seizures vary from person to person. Most people, however, do experience the same type of seizure each time. Seizures fall under two categories:

  • Generalized. Involve all areas of the brain.
    • Tonic seizures (muscle stiffness in back, arms, and legs)
    • Atonic seizures (loss of muscle control)
    • Absence seizures (subtle body movements and loss of awareness)
    • Clonic seizures (jerking, repeated muscle movement)
    • Tonic-clonic seizures (often called Grand Mal seizure with loss of consciousness)
    • Myoclonic seizures (brief twitching or jerking)
  • Focal. Abnormal activity in one hemisphere of the brain.
    • Focal aware seizures (stiffness in a body part, altered emotions, changes in senses, visual disturbances)
    • Focal impaired awareness seizures (confusion, repeating words, screaming or crying outbursts, lip smacking, staring into space)

Diagnosing Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

At Tower Health, our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit offers evaluation of epilepsy and psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES). We also use an Electroencephalography (EEG) study to record the electrical activity in the brain.

Non-surgical Treatment for Epilepsy and Seizures

If you live with seizures, the first step in treatment is a non-surgical approach to managing your symptoms. Depending on your symptoms and the impact the symptoms have on your daily life, your treatment may include:

  • Behavioral health therapy
  • Lifestyle changes and support
  • Medication management

Procedures and Surgery for Epilepsy and Seizures 

Sometimes medication isn’t enough to give you relief from the debilitating symptoms you experience with a seizure disorder. At Reading Hospital, our four-bed Epilepsy Monitoring Unit provides 24-hour, continuous video EEG monitoring. Our neurologists work collaboratively with neurosurgeons to also provide Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS).

Our goal for seizure treatment is freedom from seizure. VNS is often used as a secondary procedure for patients with epilepsy. VNS uses a surgically implanted device to deliver electrical stimulation along the vagus nerve to the affected area of the brain. Using advanced computer brain mapping, our neurosurgeons locate the precise regions of the brain that are generating the abnormal signals. By blocking those nerve signals, Vagus Nerve Stimulation helps give you relief from seizures—improving your quality of life.