"Epilepsy" describes a heterogenous group of disorders bound together by their tendency to produce seizures. Recent advances in the basic neurosciences provide new insights into the pathophysiology and treatment of seizures. In the last decade, revisions of the classification schemata have led to improvements in the recognition of seizure types and of different epilepsies and epileptic syndromes. The clinical utility of these definitions is apparent in diagnosis, therapy, prognostication, and genetic counseling. A plan for the diagnostic evaluation of patients with epilepsy is presented. The therapeutic options for seizure treatment are reviewed including the withdrawal of anticonvulsants. Patients who should probably not be treated with anticonvulsants are identified. Psychological and life-style issues in the management of seizure patients are considered. The concept of adequate control is discussed. Surgical management, an increasingly employed therapeutic modality, is described.
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