There is a wide range of types and intensities of seizures from person to person, and thus epilepsy does not appear in the same way for each person.
When seizures appear to result from abnormal activity in just one area of your brain, they’re called focal seizures, which are called simple partial seizures, or generalized seizures, which appear to involve all areas of the brain. Focal seizures don’t involve the loss of consciousness and may be confused with other neurological disorders, such as migraine, narcolepsy or mental illness.
Generalized seizures can be one of six types: absence seizures (petit mal or short seizures happening many times per day, characterized by staring into space, subtle body movements and a brief loss of awareness), tonic seizures (which affect stiffness in muscles in the back, arms and legs), atonic seizures (also called drop seizures, which cause a loss of muscle control and falling down), clonic seizures (with repeated, jerking movements in the neck, face and arms), myoclonic seizures (sudden brief jerks or twitches in the upper body, arms and legs), tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal seizures, with an abrupt loss of consciousness and body stiffening, twitching and shaking, loss of bladder control and biting of the tongue).
The causes of epilepsy remain unknown in about half the people with the condition while in the other half, the condition may be traced to various factors, including genetic influence, head trauma, brain abnormalities, stroke, prenatal injury, developmental delays, pervasive development disorder, and family history.