Epilepsy is a disorder in which nerve cells of the brain from time to time release abnormal electrical impulses. These cause a temporary malfunction of the other nerve cells of the brain, resulting in alteration of, or complete loss of consciousness.
The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) has proposed definition for epilepsy. An epileptic seizure be defined in principle as “a transient occurrence of signs and/or symptoms due to abnormal excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain”
There are several forms of epilepsy. Most people will have seen someone suffer a major epileptic seizure, suddenly losing consciousness, jerking the arms and legs, etc. But there are other types of epilepsy – for example, one common form of epilepsy in children merely consists of staring blankly and losing contact with the surroundings for a few seconds.
What are seizures? Let’s understand….
Neurons are the wired system of the body transfer sensation from the brain to the organ or, to the brain from the organ. These sensations are transferred in the form of electrical impulses. All this process is influenced by the chemical secreted in the brain.
Alteration in the function or in the properties of these chemical results in hyper-excitability of the neuron and ultimately seizures.
Hyperexcitability, in turn, is the result of altered cellular electrochemical properties, which may be caused, for example, by electrolyte imbalances. The etiology varies according to age. Seizures may be provoked by acute conditions (e.g., stroke, traumatic brain injury, alcohol withdrawal) or unprovoked, in which case they are indicative of epilepsy. The lifetime risk for experiencing at least one seizure is approx. 3% in the general population. Individuals who experience a single seizure do not necessarily have epilepsy.
What is Epilepsy ?
Epilepsy is a chronic neurologic disorder characterized by any of the following:
- Two or more unprovoked seizures separated by more than 24 hours
- One unprovoked seizure with an underlying predisposition to seizures (recurrence risk over the next 10 years that is similar to the recurrence risk after two unprovoked seizures)
- Diagnosis of an epilepsy syndrome with help of investigations.
- Symptomatic epilepsy: epilepsy due to an identifiable condition (e.g., brain tumor, structural abnormalities of the brain) that causes an increased predisposition to seizures
Investigations for Epilepsy
No cause is found in most patients. However, investigations are necessary to confirm the diagnosis, characterize the type of epilepsy, and identify any underlying cause.
Cerebral imaging: After a single seizure, head CT or MRI is advisable, although the yield of structural lesions is low unless there are focal features.
EEG: May be more helpful in showing focal features if performed very soon after a seizure than after an interval. It can also help establish the type of epilepsy and guide therapy; however, an interictal EEG is normal in 50% so it cannot exclude epilepsy.
Other investigations: These should identify any metabolic, infective, inflammatory or toxic causes. They include
- Urine analysis
- Syphilis serology
- Tests for collagen disease
- CSF examination
Conventional medicines for Epilepsy
Treatment of epilepsy is anticonvulsant medications, possibly for the person’s entire life. The choice of anticonvulsant is based on seizure type, epilepsy syndrome, other medications used, other health problems, and the person’s age and lifestyle.There are a number of medications available including
Side effects of anti-epileptic medicines
Mild side effects can include:
- Weight gain
- Thinning bones
- Trouble talking
- Memory disturbance
- Disturbed thoughts
More serious side effects can be:
- Severe skin rashes.
- Liver complaints.
- Kidney diseases.
- Depression, anxiety
Homeopathic Remedies & Homeopathy Treatment for Epilepsy
- There is no known side effects for homeopathy medicines for epilepsy.
- you not need to take medicines for life long
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc. A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptibility) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. The homeopathic remedies for epilepsy given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each medicine may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications are also taken into account for selecting a homeopathic remedy for epilepsy. To study any of the following remedies in more detail, please visit our Materia Medica section. None of these homeopathic medicines should be taken without professional advice.
- Calcarea carbonica
- Bufo rana
- Cuprum Metallicum
- OEnanthe crocata
- Artemisia vulgaris
- Kali bromatum
- Nux vomica
- Cicuta virosa
The treatment of epilepsy should be directed to the underlying dyscrasia, as this is at fault in most, if not all, cases. Calcarea carbonica, with its rickety, tuberculous, scrofulous and flabby symptoms, its characteristic deficiency of lime assimilation, as shown in children by the open fontanelles and backward dentition, will frequently be the remedy with which to commence the treatment. The characteristic relaxation on falling asleep and the sweating of the head and neck are fine indications for its use. It has an excellent clinical record. A epileptic suffering continually from the dread of an attack will withdraw himself as much as possible from the outside world, brood over his affliction and become melancholic,and there is no other remedy so well adapted to this condition as Calcarea. Its anxiety, palpitation, apprehensive mood despondency, fretfulness and irritability, its weakness of memory, its loss of consciousness, its vertigo and convulsions are prominent and characteristic indications for its use in epilepsy. If epilepsy be caused by fright, suppression of some long standing eruption, onanism or venereal excess it will probably be one of the remedies to use in the course of the treatment.
Epilepsy arising from fright, or self-abuse, or sexual excesses, will often find its remedy in Bufo rana. The aura preceding the attacks starts from the genital organs; even during coitus the patient may be seized with violent convulsions. In another form for which Bufo is suitable the aura starts from the solar plexus. Previous to the attacks, the patient is very irritable, often talks incoherently and is easily angered. It is especially in the sexual form, that brought on by masturbation, that Bufo is signally useful. It has also proved useful in severe cases in children where the head in the convulsion is drawn backwards. Indigo has epileptiform convulsions from the irritation of worms, but the patient must be low-spirited and sad– “blue as indigo.” It is the “bluest remedy in the materia medica.”
Cuprum is a very deep-acting remedy, its well-known power of producing convulsions and spasms and its excellent clinical record make it a valuable remedy in epilepsy. We know positively that poisonous doses of Cuprum cause epileptic symptoms,and it is among the most curative remedies for epilepsy in child life. The convulsions start form the brain, though the aura, which is one of long duration,seems to center in the epigastrium. Owing to this long duration of the aura consciousness is not immediately lost, and the patient will often notice the contractions in the fingers and toes before they become unconscious. The face and lips are very blue, the eyeballs are rotated, there is frothing at the mouth and violent contractions of the flexors. The attacks is usually ushered in by a shrill cry and the cases are most violent and continued. It is also a remedy for nocturnal epilepsy when the fits occur at regular intervals, such as the menstrual periods. Epileptiform spasms during dentition or from retrocessed exanthema may indicate Cuprum. Dr. Halbert remarks that Cuprum will stop the frequency of the attacks more satisfactorily than any other remedy, it is his sheet anchor in old and obstinate cases.
Perhaps no remedy in the materia medica more closely pictures epilepsy than OEnanthe. The reliable and practical symptoms calling for its use may be summed up as follows: Sudden and complete loss of consciousness; swollen livid face; frothing at the mouth; dilated or irregular pupils; convulsions with locked jaws and cold exremities.
Dr. S. H. Talcott, of the Middletown State Hospital, summed up his experience with the remedy as follows:
- The fits decrease in number 40 to 50 per cent.
- The convulsion are less severe than formerly.
- There is less maniacal excitement before the fits.
- Less sleeplessness, stupor and apathy after the fits and the debilitating effects of the attacks are more quickly recovered from.
- The patients treated with OEnanthe are less irritable, less suspicious and less fault finding.
- The patients are more easily cared for.
Artemisia vulgaris is another remedy which has been successfully used for epilepsy from fright or some mental emotion, where the attacks occur in rapid succession, and also in petit mal, where the patient is unconscious only for a few seconds and then resumes his occupation as if nothing had happened. Artemisia absinthium indicated in seizures preceded by vertigo, a warm sensation rising from the stomach, and by a slight impairment of speech.
This remedy should have no place in the homoeopathic treatment of epilepsy; it is given here because it is the principal drug employed by the allopathic school, and because nearly all cases coming to us for treatment from old school hands are liable to be complicated by a previous treatment with the bromides, notable the Bromide of Potash. It is not a curative remedy, but a palliative one; it strikes at the attack and not the disease. It will often modify the attacks, and used as a prophylactic may avert the seizure, but its prolonged use works inevitable harm. It weakens the mental faculties and hastens imbecility. It is indicated by all the characteristic of epilepsy and hence is a safer prophylactic than the Bromide of potash. Bromide acne is often present in cases coming to us from old school hands.
Silicea is one of our most valuable remedies in epilepsy. It suits especially scrofulous and rickety subjects. The aura starts from the solar plexus , as in Bufo and Nux vomica. Certain phases of the moon are said to affect the attacks, which are brought on by an overstrain of the mind or emotions. Nocturnal epilepsy, feeling of coldness before an attacks is also characteristic of the drug, and the fit is followed by warm perspiration. When Silicea is required there is an exalted susceptibility of the upper spinal cord and the medulla and an exhausted condition of the nerves. The attacks occur about the time of the new moon. It comes in after Calcarea in inveterate chronic cases, and coldness of the left side of the body preceding the attack is very characteristic.
The characterizing feature of epilepsy is loss of consciousness, therefore, Nux vomica is not often a remedy in the idiopathic form. It suits cases arising from an excess of the reflex action caused, for instance,by indigestion. The aura in a case calling for Nux starts in the solar plexus, and among the most characteristic symptoms is a sensation of ants crawling over the face. The middle and higher potencies will be found more useful in the spinal form of epilepsy, and this is the form most suitable to Nux.
Plumbum has caused epilepsy, and we may use it for these symptoms: the attack is preceded by a heaviness of the legs and is followed by paralysis; epileptic seizures from sclerosis, or from tumors of the brain, consciousness returning slowly after an attack is another indication and it is more suitable to the chronic forms of the disease. Constipation and abdominal pains further indicate.
The indications for cicuta are sudden rigidity followed by jerks and violent distortions, and these followed by utter prostration. The prostration is characteristic, being equaled only by that of Chininum arsenicosum. There is a tonic spasm renewed by touch simulating Strychnia; but in Cicuta there is loss of consciousness , thus resembling more the epileptiform. There is great oppression of breathing, lockjaw, face dark red, frothing at the mouth and opisthotonos. The reflex excitability under Cicuta is much less than under Strychnia. Another characteristic of Cicuta is fixed staring eyes; others are trembling before and after the spasm and strange feeling in the head preceding the attack. Bayes, however, regards muscular convulsions as a specially prominent symptom for Cuprum.
Like Calcarea, Sulphur is a constitutional or basic remedy, and it will act well where there is a scrofulous taint. It is useful for the same class of cases as is Calcarea; namely, those brought on by sexual excesses or the suppression of some eruption. The convulsions are attended with great exhaustion and it is suitable to the chronic form of epilepsy in children who are typical Sulphur patients. There is perhaps a tendency to fall to the left side. Sulphur is also a useful intercurrent remedy in the course of the treatment of an epilepsy. Psorinum may also be needed as an intercurrent.
In epileptic convulsions Hyoscyamus is a most valuable remedy. There is much twitching and jerking and hunger previous to the attack, there is frothing at the mouth and biting of the tongue. A violent fright will produce an attack that will call for Hyoscyamus. The convulsions seem to have more of a hysterical nature, and there are illusions of sight and hearing.
Belladonna is especially a remedy for acute epilepsies, when the cerebral symptoms are prominent, where the face is flushed and the whole trouble seems to picture cerebral irritation, and more especially if the patient be young. There is an aura as if a mouse were running over an extremity, or of heat rising from the stomach. There are illusions of sight and hearing, and the convulsions are apt to commence in an upper extremity and extend to the mouth, face and eyes. The great irritability of the nervous system, the easily disturbed sleep, the startings, the tremors and twitching and the general Belladonna symptoms will render the choice easy. Atropine,the alkaloid of Belladonna, has also been used successfully in the treatment of epilepsy.
Causticum is useful in Petit mal, also when the patient falls while walking in the open air, but soon recovers. It is said to be useful when the attacks occur at new moon. It menstrual epilepsy and that occurring at puberty Causticum is the remedy. Kafka recommends Hepar in nocturnal epilepsy. Causticum is perhaps better suited to recent and light cases. Another preparation of potash, Kali muriaticum, is a most useful remedy in epilepsy; it has an affinity for the nerve centers and it is a slow acting remedy.
- Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 14th ed, McGraw-Hill
- Davidson’s Principles and Practise of Medicine, 17th ed, 1996, Churchill Livingstone
- New Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica & Repertory, William Boericke, 2nd revised ed., 2001, B. Jain
- A Concise Repertory of Homeopathic Medicines, S.R.Phatak, 3rd ed, B. Jain
- Practical Homeopathic Therapeutics, Dewey, reprint ed, 1993, B.Jain