Epilepsy is not a disease in and of itself. Rather, it is the result of an underlying problem. The culprit behind epilepsy can be anything that can affect the brain’s function. According to the Mayo Clinic, “epilepsy has no identifiable cause in about half of those who have the condition. In the other half, the condition may be traced to various factors.”

Possible causes of epilepsy include:

  • stroke: according to the Mayo Clinic, this is “responsible for up to one-half of epilepsy cases in people over age 35.”
  • traumatic brain injury
  • prenatal or birth injuries, including deprivation of oxygen and brain damage from an infection passed from the mother
  • drug and alcohol use
  • neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease
  • brain tumors
  • genetic factors that can alter the brain’s normal development, making a person more susceptible to the environmental factors that trigger seizures
  • other diseases, such as AIDS or meningitis