Epilepsy Specialist

Bharat Tolia, MD -  - Neurologist

Comprehensive Neurology

Bharat Tolia, MD

Neurologist located in Pontiac, MI

Epilepsy affects one in 26 people at some point in their lifetime, whether the first seizure occurs in childhood or adulthood. Since epilepsy includes a broad spectrum of seizure types and behaviors, it’s essential to get expert care and treatment from Dr. Bharat Tolia at Comprehensive Neurology Headache and Sleep Center. Whether you’ve had one seizure, multiple events, or you just have questions about epilepsy, call his office in Pontiac, Michigan or book an appointment online.

Epilepsy Q & A

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy occurs when brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or changes in movement, behavior, and sensation. A person is diagnosed with epilepsy when they’ve had two or more seizures.

What are the different types of seizures?

During a seizure, nerve cells in the brain fire electrical impulses up to four times faster than average and they typically last a few seconds to a few minutes. During that time, different behaviors arise, depending on whether the person has a focal or generalized seizure.

What are focal onset seizures?

Focal seizures affect one area of the brain and may manifest as:

Focal onset aware

People with this type of seizure stay alert, but they may appear dazed or unable to respond to others.

Impaired awareness

The person isn't aware of their surroundings, and they have involuntary movements such as lip smacking or bicycling movements of the legs.

What are generalized onset seizures?

Generalized seizures affect both sides of the brain. There are numerous types of generalized seizures, including:


The person goes through a tonic phase in which muscles stiffen, and they may cry or groan. Then they lose consciousness and enter the clonic phase: their arms and legs jerk rapidly and rhythmically.


Absence seizures cause the person to blank out or stare into space, as if they’re daydreaming.


During an atonic seizure, muscles lose tone and become limp, so if the person is standing, they fall.

What triggers epileptic seizures?

Some people have reflex epilepsy, a condition in which a seizure consistently occurs in response to a trigger like flashing lights. Others with generalized or focal onset epilepsy find that factors such as sleep deprivation, stress, certain foods, or skipping a meal frequently trigger their seizures.

How is epilepsy diagnosed and treated?

Dr. Tolia assesses what happens when the patient has a seizure, performs physical and neurological exams, then determines whether electroencephalography (EEG) is needed to evaluate electrical activity in their brain. He does EEGs in the office so that he can schedule a follow-up appointment.

First-line treatment for epilepsy is medication to control seizures and ongoing monitoring to evaluate changes in the frequency or type of seizure, along with the medicine’s effectiveness. Several anti-epileptic medications are available, so Dr. Tolia makes the best choice for each patient’s type of seizure.

If you or a family member has had a seizure, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Tolia for a thorough evaluation and treatment.