Epilepsy Specialist

Christopher Sinclair, MD -  - Neurologist

Suffolk Brain and Nerve

Christopher Sinclair, MD

Neurologist located in Port Jefferson Station, NY

An estimated 2.2 million people in the United States experience some level of epilepsy, with 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Dr. Christopher Sinclair, neurologist with Suffolk Brain and Nerve in Port Jefferson Station, New York, diagnoses seizure conditions and develops a treatment plan for you, based on leading-edge research to keep your seizures under control and your lifestyle on track. Call the office or click online to request an appointment.

Epilepsy Q & A

What is epilepsy?

A disorder of the central nervous system, epilepsy consists of abnormal brain activity that causes conditions known as seizures, which may involve loss of muscle control, loss of awareness or consciousness, or periods of altered behavior.

Symptoms of seizures can be quite varied, from a blank stare to complete loss of muscle control, including muscle spasms. Typically, you’ll have two or more seizures before you’re diagnosed with epilepsy, and sometimes seizures can stop over time, particularly with children, who sometimes lose the disorder as they get older. Others may require long-term treatment to keep seizures under control.

What are the symptoms of epilepsy?

Since epilepsy stems from abnormal brain activity, any function that the brain oversees could be affected by a seizure. Symptoms may exist alone or in a combination, and often your range of symptoms is exclusive to you. Some of the more common signs of epilepsy include:

  • Loss of awareness or consciousness
  • Blank, staring episodes
  • Uncontrollable jerking of your arms or legs
  • Suddenly rigid or relaxed muscles
  • Feelings of confusion or disorientation
  • Feelings of dread, anxiety, or anticipation

Are there different types of epileptic seizures?

Yes. Seizures might originate from just one part of your brain. These are called focal seizures and they can be simple, without loss of consciousness, or complex, where your awareness is affected. These are also called partial seizures, and sometimes their symptoms may be confused with other neurological conditions, such as migraines or narcolepsy.

Generalized seizures involve all of the brain and include six subtypes. These include:

  • Absence seizures, formerly called petit mal seizures, typically involving staring and/or subtle movements
  • Atonic seizures, including loss of muscle control, so you suddenly collapse
  • Clonic seizures, with repeated, rhythmic, or jerking muscle movements
  • Myoclonic seizures, with brief jerking and twitching motions
  • Tonic seizures, with stiffening muscles typically in your arms, legs, and back which could cause you to fall
  • Tonic-clonic seizures, formerly called grand mal seizures, causing loss of muscle control and collapsing, with limbs jerking or stiffening, as well as loss of consciousness

How are epileptic seizures controlled?

Seizures can be controlled or eliminated with medication, though finding the correct drug and dose may take time. When medications aren’t successful, surgery can sometimes reduce or even eliminate seizures.