Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system characterized
by frequent loss of consciousness with seizure, associated with abnormal
electrical activity in the brain. In some cases, it could be due to brain
damage, but in most cases the causes are unknown. Epilepsy is a common,
sometimes chronic, neurological condition with physical risks and psychological
and socioeconomic consequences which impair quality of life.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) dictionary of
Epilepsy, epilepsy is defined as a `chronic disorder of the central nervous
system of various etiologies characterized by recurrent seizures due to
excessive discharge of cerebral neurons. The definition of epilepsy requires the occurrence of at
least one epileptic seizure; therefore, a seizure is the event, while epilepsy
is the disorder. By the definition, one seizure does not make epilepsy, nor
does a small series of seizures that have an immediate precipitating factor,
for example, alcohol withdrawal seizures, stress, and low blood sugar among others.
The seizures must be spontaneous and recurrent to represent epilepsy as most people
take seizure disorder as epilepsy. Seizures result from an electrochemical
disorder in the brain, as brain cells use chemical reactions to produce
electrical discharges. Each brain cell either excites or inhibits other brain
cells with its discharges. When the balance of excitation and inhibition in a
region of brain is moved too far in the direction of excitation, then a seizure
is a common neurological disorder and approximately 3% of the general
population will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime (Rugg-Gunn 2012).
The prevalence of epilepsy is around 5/1000 people to 10/1000 people with
50/100,000 new diagnoses each year (Sander 2003).
It is estimated that nearly 50 million people in the world have some form of
epilepsy (WHO 2009).
Similarly, epilepsy is linked with co-morbidities that include psychological
disorders and neurological deficits (Bell 2011).
There has been extensive research into the nature of these difficulties,
providing evidence that accompanying problems make a significant contribution
to reduced quality of life (Fisher 2000), and seizure frequency is not a consistent
predictor of a poorer quality of life (Taylor 2011),
but people do state cognitive complaints have the biggest effect on their
quality of life (Fisher 2000). Despite
this, there is a paucity of research into possible psychological interventions,
particularly for people with newly diagnosed with epilepsy. However, it has been reported that there is a relationship between
behavioural, physiological and psychological states and the probability of
seizure occurrence (Fenwick 1992). Epilepsy is often comorbid with anxiety,