What are “Epilepsy Syndromes”?

What are “Epilepsy Syndromes”?

As physicians started to study Epilepsy, they realized that certain group of characteristics could be used to predict which kind of seizures the patient would get, whether the Epilepsy would be controlled with medications, how long it would last etc etc…

Therefore – without knowing what was the exact cause of each of these problems – Doctors divided people with Epilepsy into many groups.

For example, look at these 3 groups of people:

  1. Children who have only one kind of seizure and only when they are sleeping, and then stop having seizures when they become teenagers.
  2. Children who suddenly fall down (have “Drop attacks”) with their seizures, and have very severe, difficult-to-treat seizures which affect their intellectual development.
  3. Teenagers who have jerking of the upper body in the morning only when they deprive themselves of sleep the previous night, & who sometimes have generalized seizures at these times.

Obviously, each one of these groups is differnt than the other. Each group requires a different management stratergy e.g. the second group needs to be treated much more aggresively than the first group.

Each such “Group” of people with similar characteristics defines an “Epilepsy Syndrome”.

(For example, the Epilepsy Syndromes described above are: Benign Rolandic Epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome & Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy – please don’t be confused by the names, these are explained very simply later.)

Does being diagnosed with an “Epilepsy Syndrome” mean that the cause for my Epilepsy is known?

Unfortunately, not yet, since our knowledge is still expanding.

At present, these epilepsy syndromes are based on characteristics of the patient as described above. As we have started to integrate other fields such as genetics, we have started to learn that patients who have the same Epilepsy syndrome may infact have different causes.

For example, “Dravet Syndrome” is an Epilepsy syndrome with extremely severe seizures that start in Infancy.

  • Most children who have “Dravet Syndrome” have an abnormal SCN1A gene.
  • But many patients with abnormalities in other genes such as SCN1B, SCN2A may also present with the exactly same features and therefore are also said to have “Dravet Syndrome”.
  • In some children with features of “Dravet Syndrome”, the genetic abnormality has not been identified yet.

Therefore, being diagnosed with a particular syndrome does not tell you the exact “cause” without additional testing.

Perhaps in the future, when we know more and more about genetics, Epilepsy syndromes will be defined solely on the basis of genetics.

Which “Epilepsy Syndromes” are described in detail in this guide?

There are many, many “Epilepsy Syndromes”, and multiple ways to divide them.

I have organized them by the age at which they typically appear. Although quite comprehensive, this list does not include some very rare / very harmless Epilepsy syndromes. If you want a specific Syndrome to be described, please get in touch with me using the “Contact me” button below.


– BGEFS+ & Dravet
– West Syndrome


– Myoclonic-Astatic / Doose Syndrome
– Rasmussen’s encephalitis
– Childhood Absence Epilepsy
– BOEC / Panayitopoulous Syndrome


– Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome & Atypical Absence
– Landau-Kleffner Syndrome & CSWS
– BECTS / Rolandic Epilepsy


– Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME) & Juvenile Absence Epilepsy (JAE)


– Epilepsy with GTC only
– Focal Epilepsy: including Temporal & Frontal lobe epilepsy
– Reflex Epilepsy including Photo-sensitive epilepsy, Reading epilepsy & hot-water epilepsy
– Epilepsies due to Metabolic Problems


– Focal Cortical Dysplasia (FCD)?
– Mesial Temporal Sclerosis (MTS)?
– Progressive Myoclonic Epilepsies: U-L disease, Lafora, MERRF, NCL, Sialidoses, DRPLA
– Epileptic Encephalopathy: West, LGS, Dravet, Landau-Kleffner & Focal Epilepsy with CSWS, Angelman & Rett, PME, Severe epilepsy with independent spike foci.




Caution: This information is not a substitute for professional care. Do not change your medications/treatment without your doctor's permission.
Dr. Siddharth Kharkar

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar has been recognized as one of the best neurologists in Mumbai by Outlook India magazine and India today Magazine. He is a board certified (American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology certified) Neurologist.

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar is a Epilepsy specialist in Mumbai & Parkinson's specialist in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

He has trained in the best institutions in India, US and UK including KEM hospital in Mumbai, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), USA & Kings College in London.

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NeuroPlus Epilepsy & Parkinson's Clinic - Dr. Kharkar IconNeuroPlus Epilepsy & Parkinson's Clinic - Dr. Kharkar

near LIC, Dr Balabhai Nanavati hospital, near LIC, Swami Vivekananda Road, LIC Colony, Vile Parle

4.6 87 reviews

  • Avatar Paras Prabhu ★★★★★ 6 months ago
    Out patient is epileptic from about 10 years and her seizure gotten worse during the past year with the frequency of about 3-4 times a week.So we consulted … More Dr. Kharkar. He tried a few medicines, and within 1.5-2 months now the patient is feeling very well now. There are no seizures for 14 days currently.Dr. tried to keep medicines as minimum as possible. He also tried to keep the cost of the treatment minimum.When some of the medicines started showing side-effects, he was quick to switch the medicines to the better options.Overall I think we are getting a best of the available treatments. We thank you very much Dr. Kharkar.
  • Avatar Dr Shobha Sankhe ★★★★★ a month ago
    Dr Kharkar is gem of a doctor with tremendous patience, empathy, genuine concern for his patients .He guides them very methodically & scientifically … More for their neurological ill healthOur epilepsy patient is extremely happy with his treatment , Patient feels better by just visiting him too!May his selfless service to humanity flourish to reach all the needy patients!!
  • Avatar shrruti khanna ★★★★★ a month ago
    I consulted Dr Sidharth for my sister who has become very hyper and aggressive and we could not understand the issue. Keeping in mind she is someone with … More special needs Dr Sidharth was extremely understanding of the situation and did not put her through unnecessary investigation and avoided a very long stay at the hospital. He was infact more keen on her returning home to her natural environment. We highly appreciate Dr Sidharth for his effort and for looking into the matter with utmost care. It was a very difficult decision for my family to get my sister admitted but we are glad we did it under his care.Thankyou Doc.
  • Avatar Prashant Purohit ★★★★★ a month ago
    my name is prashant purohit. I m become completely bed ridden from last 9 months and was unable to walk. I couldnt find out the cause even after visiting … More many doctors and many hospital in Ahmedabad nd jodhpur.started losing hope. A good friend of mine suggested to visit a neurologist. After searching a lot, I came to know about Dr. Siddharth Kharkar and took his appointment in Nanavati Hospital. He examined and said that he suffered from \u201cPKD(PAROXYSMAL KNESIGENIC DYSKNESIA\u201c. He assured us to reverse this in 5 days time. And indeed this happened. I started recovering miraculously. today I am fully well fit I m walking as normal . Many Many thanks to Dr. Siddharth Kharkhar sir for giving me a new life.
  • Avatar Sanjay Pradhan ★★★★★ 7 months ago
    Dr. Kharkar is truly exceptional. He is extremely knowledgeable. But simultaneously, he is extremely patient and kind - taking the time and care to respond … More to all the questions. It is rare to come across a doctor who is not in a hurry to get on to the next patient, but instead, focuses on the one in front with full attention, expertise and compassion. A great experience.
  • Avatar N N ★★★★★ 11 months ago
    We visited Dr. Kharkhar for treatment regarding my mum - who is a multi-stroke patient and has aphasia. Certain medications were creating complications … More with her condition and Dr. Kharkhar was able to help mitigate the issue. We found him and his approach to be incredibly compassionate, considerate, individualized and patient-friendly. He advice is astute, up-to-date and empathetic. His treatment always comes from a deeply human place and is about seeing how to help the patient and their caregivers feel more at ease. Something that is quite rare and refreshing within the medical community.We feel that he genuinely cares about the patients that he is treating and is always kind and respectful in his communication. Moreover, his admin team is very efficient and prompt and it's a pleasure to deal with them.Would highly recommend Dr Kharkhar himself - though we must say our experience with Nanavati hospital itself has been less than ideal.Hope this helps.
  • Avatar Manish Ranjan ★★★★★ a year ago
    I have been visiting Dr Kharkar for treatment of my father. He is a very friendly doctor. He listens to our concerns with lot of patience. He also explains … More the issue in much greater details. He has really been of great help. My father is much better now.
  • Avatar Pinakin Shah ★★★★★ 9 months ago
    One of the best Dr. Gives complete attention and time to listen to patient's history, issues. Explains various options of treatment with pros and … More cons.
  • Avatar Lawrence Castellino ★★★★★ 11 months ago
    Exceptional experience with an expert,Dr. Kharkar is a knowledge house. It is rare nowadays to find doctors with patience, knowledge, and a flair for … More handling patient’s questions, besides Dr. Kharkar’s bedside manners are exemplary. I am privileged to be treated by such an amazing soul. I have told him and will repeat it here that “I am advancing my move back to India although I am a US Citizen, because I know I am in good hands and will be well taken care of. Thanks Dr. Kharkar for your selfless service!
  • Avatar Hemant Kansara ★★★★★ a year ago
    Great doctor!! Really appreciate.The doctor diagnosed to my sister correctly and start treatment, she has good improvement after taking medicine prescribed … More by doctor as no epilepsy attake. We have good experience with the doctor. Thank you

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