Epilepsy Resources

Causes of Epilepsy

What causes epilepsy? Unfortunately, the cause is unknown for about half of everyone with epilepsy. Some people with no clear cause of epilepsy may have a genetic cause. However, other common causes include:

  • Brain trauma/head injury
  • Brain lesions/tumors
  • Poisoning (e.g. lead)
  • Infections of the brain (e.g. meningitis, encephalitis, measles)
  • Brain injury at birth
  • Abnormal brain development

For those that do have epilepsy, there are some common factors that can trigger seizures. These include:

  • Missed or late medication (#1 reason)
  • Stress/anxiety
  • Lack of sleep/fatigue
  • Hormonal changes
  • Illness
  • Flashing lights (e.g. fire alarm strobe lights, video games)
  • Hyperventilation
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Drug interactions (from prescribed or over-the-counter medicines)
  • Overheating/overexertion
  • Poor diet/missed meals

However, in many cases there is no identifiable trigger or precipitating factor.