7 Common Neurological Disorders You Need to Know


You're familiar with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and they're probably the conditions that come to mind when you think of neurological disorders. But there are many other diseases and conditions that affect the brain and its ability to control the body. Some are chronic, progressive, or life-threatening, while others are manageable conditions that people live with every day. And some can come out of nowhere to strike once or a few times, then vanish just as mysteriously. Here’s a guide to 7 common neurological conditions to be on the lookout for.

1. Epilepsy

Also called seizure disorder, epilepsy is diagnosed when someone experiences repeated seizures that don't have another specific cause, such as a stroke. When you think of seizure, you probably picture the jerky, out-of-control movements, collapsing, and thrashing depicted onscreen. But confusion and disorientation, staring sightlessly, garbling speech, and losing consciousness (sometimes while not appearing to do so) are also symptoms of a seizure. In particular, children are likely to suffer from "absence seizures," in which they stare into space, sometimes making repeated movements such as smacking their lips or blinking their eyes. Many epileptics experience partial seizures, also called focal seizures, that affect just one section of the brain. These seizures cause a wide range of sensory and physical symptoms, such as seeing or hearing things that aren't there, noticing a sudden unpleasant odor or taste in the mouth, or uncontrolled movements such as one finger or limb stiffening or jerking. People with epilepsy typically have a pattern, repeating the same type of seizure they've had in the past. Many things can trigger seizures, from stress or sleep deprivation to alcohol and certain foods. Some epileptics are more likely to have seizures at night or at a certain time during the day. Reflex epilepsy refers to seizures triggered by flashing lights, video games, or certain kinds of repetitive sounds, or even touching specific points on the body.

Melanie Haiken

Melanie Haiken discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions when she was health editor of Parenting magazine. See full bio

over 2 years ago, said...

Actually the comment about PSP appeared below my comment about CAA.

over 2 years ago, said...

Also add CAA, Cerebral Amyloid Angiogathy, another progressive terminal brain disease. My husband died of PSP (see comment above), and now I'm dying of CAA. On top of all that, my father died of conditions related to Alzheimer's, and my older brother died of ALS, also know as Lou Gehrig's disease. I've had enough of neurological conditions to last me forever. None is fun.

over 2 years ago, said...

I wish the author knew the difference between nauseated and nauseous. When something (e.g., a color, a smell a taste) causes one to feel like vomiting, that "something" is nauseous. For example, that house is painted a nauseous shade of green. I feel like throwing up." or "When I get a migraine, I usually feel nauseated and frequently vomit." —Karen L. Lew the picky editor

over 2 years ago, said...

Please also add PSP, devastating. Progressive Supranuclear Palsy