People with epilepsy have seizures. During a seizure, the nerve cells in the brain don't communicate normally. The usual electrical activity in the brain becomes altered. These seizures may last a few seconds or a few minutes.
Some people with epilepsy will have or eventually develop refractory epilepsy. This means that medicines don't work well, or at all, to control the seizures.
If you have refractory epilepsy, the type of seizures you have may affect your treatment. Seizures may be:
- Primary (generalized) seizures. This means they involve a lot of your brain tissue on both sides of your brain.
- Partial (focal) seizures. This means seizure activity starts in a smaller area of your brain and may later spread out to a wider area.
Refractory epilepsy can have a big effect on your life. People with refractory epilepsy may have trouble at work or school. They may worry a lot about when their next seizure will come. They may also have injuries that result from their seizures. If your health care provider thinks you have refractory epilepsy, he or she may suggest that you visit a medical center that specializes in epilepsy.