Seizure Disorders



Anormal functioning of the brain requires a process of discharge ofelectrical impulse that occurs in a coordinated manner. Impropercoordination of electric impulses, which can be attributed to geneticmutation, increases the risk of suffering from seizure (Tenney &ampGlauser, 2013). This paper will provide a discussion of absence,clonic, tonic, tonic clonic, and atonic seizures. The paper willfocus on etiology, diagnosis, differential diagnosis, findings inforensic mental health population, and treatment interventions forseizure disorders.


Theoccurrence of seizure disorders is attributed to geneticpredisposition. According to Tenney &amp Glauser (2013) a mutationthat affects subunits of calcium channels, GABA receptors, andnon-ion channel proteins is considered as the major cause of seizuredisorders. This mutation that affect calcium channels and GABA iscaused by a disruptive impact on thalamocortical networks. Thegenetic predisposition to seizure is confirmed by the highprobability (15 % – 40 %) of members of a family with a relativesuffering from the condition contracting the same illness (Tenney &ampGlauser, 2013). Although seizure is quite common among the elderlypeople, age acts as a factor that facilitates the expression ofmutated genes.

Diagnosticfeatures of the absence seizure

Absenceseizure can be diagnosed using two procedures. First,electroencephalography (EEG) refers to a painless diagnosticprocedure that detects and measures waves that are released byelectrical activity taking place in the brain (Bhagat, 2015). Thesewaves are transmitted to the EEG machine that is attached to thepatient’s scalp. The disorder is diagnosed when the EEG isdifferent from the normal pattern. Secondly, a brain scan is oftenused as an elimination method because it rules out the possibility ofother medical conditions, such as brain tumor and stroke. Before thepatient is subjected to complicated lab tests (such as EEG), thehealth care professionals should conduct a subjective diagnosis. Someof the key features and symptoms that can help the doctor suspectthat the patient is suffering from seizure include lip smacking,finger rubbing, eyelid flutters, and sudden stop in motion (Bhagat,2015). The seizure should last for about 10-25 seconds, and thenfollowed by full recovery.


Idiopathicseizure share some diagnostic features and symptoms with other typesof medical conditions as discussed below

Complexpartial seizure: This condition has some symptoms (such as typicalabsence and a sudden stop in motion) that resemble the features ofidiopathic seizure. However, health care professionals maydifferentiate it from seizure disorders considered in the presentstudy because it lasts longer (30 seconds – 2 minute) and it ischaracterized by automatism (Khair &amp Elmagrabi, 2015).

Pediatricfebrile seizure: Patients with this condition experience seizure inthe same way as those who are suffering from idiopathic epilepsy. The seizure lasts for less than 15 second, which makes it easy toconfuse it with seizure disorders (Khair &amp Elmagrabi, 2015).However, this condition is characterized by a setting fever thatmainly affect children aged between six months and five years.

Interms of comorbidity, seizure disorders may co-occur with emotional,cognitive, language deficiency, Juveniel myoclonic, and mesialtemporal (Filho, Mazetto, Silva, Caboclo &amp Yacubian, 2011).

Latestfindings associated with the forensic mental health population

Thereare laws that protect people with mental illnesses from being heldguilty of the actions of the crimes that they commit under theinfluence of the medical condition. However, the possibility ofseizure disorder influencing people to commit crime is rarelyresearched. The research findings reported by Meynen (2010) indicatedthat it is possible for people suffering from the seizure disorder toinjure others without their knowledge. Consequently, patients oughtnot to be considered as freewill actors. This is because freewillactors are supposed to be the originators of the actions.

Evidence-basedtreatment of seizure disorders

Theseizure disorders discussed in this paper are mainly treated usingpharmaceutical products that have been proven to be effective. Agroup of drugs used to treat seizure disorders are known asantiepileptic drugs (AEDs). These drugs have different levels ofeffectiveness. For example, ethusuximide has been shown to beeffective in the treatment of absence seizure (Tenney &amp Glauser,2013). Other drugs (including valproic) are also effective, but theyhave numerous side effects, such as birth defects. Valproic is notrecommended for pregnant women. Lamotrigine has fewer side effects,but its level of efficacy cannot be compared to ethosuximide (Tenney&amp Glauser, 2013).


Themental disorders (including absence, clonic, tonic, tonic clonic, andatonic seizures) discussed in the present study are mainly caused bygenetic mutation. These types of seizure can be diagnosed using twostrategies, including electroencephalography (EEG) and the brainscan. However, the role of brain scan during diagnosis is toeliminate the possibility of other medical conditions. In addition,the disorder shares some symptoms with other medical conditions, suchas complex partial and pediatric febrile. The similarity of symptomsand diagnostic features may limit the accuracy of the diagnosis,unless the health care professionals are careful enough to detectcharacteristics that differentiate these health conditions. Peoplesuffering from seizure disorder may act without engaging their freewill, which creates the need to consider their protection from beingheld liable to injuries that they cause during seizure.


Bhagat,R. (2015). Clinical pattern of epilepsy and theirelectroencephalogram findings. Journalof Neurology and Neurophysiology,6 (6), 1-3.

Filho,G., Mazetto, L., Silva, J., Caboclo, L. &amp Yacubian, E. (2011).Psychiatric comorbidity in patients with two prototypes of focalversus generalized epilepsy syndrome. Seizure,20, 283-386.

Khair,M. &amp Elmagrabi, D. (2015). Febrile seizures and febrile seizuresyndromes: An updated overview of old and current knowledge.NeurologicalResearch,1, 1-8.

Meynen,G. (2010). Free will and mental disorder: Exploring the relationship.TheoreticalMedicine and Bioethics,31 (6), 429-443.

Tenney,R. &amp Glauser, A. (2013). The current state of absence epilepsy:Can we have your attention? EpilepsyCurrent,13 (3), 135-140.