General Question

cdwccrn's avatar

Are the terms " seizure disorder" and "epilepsy" synonomous?

Asked by cdwccrn (3605points) May 14th, 2009 from iPhone

Just wondering about the avoidance of the latter term.

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4 Answers

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Um, as far as I know, the two are not synonomous. While epileptics have seizures, not all seizures are caused by epilepsy. Seizures can be caused by other abnormal brain activity not associated with epilepsy.

reverie's avatar

No, the two terms are not synonymous.

As @evelyns_pet_zebra said, epilepsy is a type of seizure disorder, but not all seizure disorders are epilepsy. – this article has more information about non-epileptic seizures, as well as a list of other conditions that may trigger seizures.

I imagine that the term “epilepsy” is only avoided when referring to seizure disorders in general, or unconfirmed/misdiagnosed epilepsy. I’ve not personally come across anyone avoiding the use of the term for any other reason.

Darwin's avatar

When you use the word “epilepsy” the whole negative history of the disease comes into play. However, if you say “seizure disorder” it sounds more clinical and is detached from the images tied up with epilepsy. There are a of of myths associated with epilepsy, but not necessarily with the term seizure disorder.

And even among cases of epilepsy there are great differences. Different types of epilepsy include generalized or partial epilepsy, and idiopathic or symptomatic epilepsy. And then there are different types of seizures, such as grand mal, absence, myoclonic, clonic, tonic, and atonic seizures. There are hundreds of epilepsy syndromes. I have noted that on forums dedicated to epilepsy folks tend to use the name of their syndrome rather than the word epilepsy.

And, yes, there are indeed seizure disorders that are not epilepsy.

It may be something like using the term Hanson’s Disease instead of the word leprosy. You shed the historical and cultural connotations associated with the older term.

SpatzieLover's avatar

My sister had seizures as a teen…they were NOT epileptic. So the words are NOT synonymous.

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