What Causes Seizures in Adults With No History?

Seizures in adults with no prior history can be caused by a variety of factors, and determining the exact cause often requires a thorough medical evaluation. Some possible causes include:

  • Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. Even if a person has not experienced seizures before, they can develop epilepsy later in life.
  • Structural Brain Abnormalities: Brain tumors, malformations, lesions, or other structural abnormalities can irritate brain tissue and trigger seizures.
  • Head Trauma: A significant head injury, even if it occurred years ago, can increase the risk of developing seizures later in life.
  • Infections: Certain infections like encephalitis or meningitis can cause inflammation of the brain, potentially leading to seizures.
  • Metabolic Imbalances: Electrolyte imbalances, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), or other metabolic disturbances can affect brain function and potentially cause seizures.
  • Drug or Alcohol Withdrawal: Suddenly stopping the use of certain drugs or alcohol can lead to seizures, especially in individuals with a history of substance abuse.
  • Medication Interactions: Some medications, when combined, can lower the seizure threshold and trigger seizures.
  • Stroke: A stroke can disrupt blood flow to parts of the brain, leading to abnormal electrical activity and seizures.
  • Sleep Deprivation: A lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns can increase the risk of seizures in susceptible individuals.
  • High Fever (Febrile Seizures): Infections or illnesses that cause high fevers can sometimes lead to seizures, especially in young adults.
  • Toxic Exposure: Exposure to certain toxins or poisons can affect brain function and potentially cause seizures.
  • Autoimmune Disorders: Some autoimmune disorders, such as autoimmune encephalitis, can lead to seizures as a neurological symptom.
  • Genetic Predisposition: Even without a known family history, some genetic factors can predispose individuals to seizures.

It’s important to emphasize that if someone experiences a seizure for the first time, they should seek medical attention immediately. A thorough medical evaluation, including medical history, physical examination, blood tests, and possibly neuroimaging (such as an MRI or CT scan), can help identify the potential cause of the seizure. A neurologist is typically the medical specialist who can diagnose and provide appropriate treatment recommendations for seizures.