While a seizure disorder cannot currently be cured, for some people, it does eventually go away. One study found that children with idiopathic epilepsy, or a seizure disorder with an unknown cause, had a 68 to 92 percent chance of becoming seizure-free by 20 years after their diagnosis.
The odds of becoming seizure-free are not as good for adults or for children with severe seizure disorders, but it is nonetheless possible for seizures to decrease or even stop over time. This is more likely if the disorder has been well-controlled by medication or if the person has had surgery.
Most seizures do not cause brain damage; however, it is not uncommon for people with a disorder, especially children, to develop behavioral and emotional problems, sometimes the consequence of embarrassment and frustration or bullying, teasing, or avoidance in school and other social settings.
For many people with a seizure disorder, the risk of seizures restricts their independence (some states refuse driver's licenses to people with a disorder) and recreational activities.
People with a seizure disorder are at special risk for two life-threatening conditions: status epilepticus and sudden unexplained death.
Most women with a seizure disorder can become pregnant, but they should discuss their condition and the medications they are taking with their doctors. Women with the condition have a 90 percent or better chance of having a normal, healthy baby.
Scientists are studying potential antiepileptic drugs with the goal of enhancing treatment for seizure disorders. They continue to study how neurotransmitters interact with brain cells to control nerve firing and how non-neuronal cells in the brain contribute to seizures. One of the most-studied neurotransmitters is GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid.
Researchers are working to identify genes that may influence seizure disorders. This information may allow doctors to prevent disorders or to predict which treatments will be most beneficial.