Seizure Types

Generalized Seizures

  • Involve the whole brain
  • Common types include absence and tonic-clonic
  • Symptoms may include convulsions, staring, muscle spasms and falls

Generalized Absence Seizures

  • Pause in activity with blank stare
  • Brief lapse of awareness
  • Possible chewing or blinking motion
  • Usually lasts 1 to 10 seconds
  • May occur many times a day
  • May be confused with:
  • Daydreaming
  • Lack of attention
  • ADD

Generalized Tonic Clonic

  • A sudden, hoarse cry
  • Loss of consciousness
  • A fall
  • Convulsions (stiffening of arms and legs followed by rhythmic jerking)
  • Shallow breathing and drooling may occur
  • Possible loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Occasionally skin, nails, lips may turn blue
  • Generally lasts 1 to 3 minutes
  • Usually followed by confusion, headache, tiredness, soreness, speech difficulty

Partial Seizures

  • Involve only part of the brain
  • Common types include simple partial and complex partial
  • Symptoms relate to the part of the brain affected

Focal Aware

  • Full awareness maintained
  • Rhythmic movements (isolated twitching of arms, face, legs)
  • Sensory symptoms (tingling, weakness, sounds, smells, tastes, feeling of upset stomach, visual distortions)
  •  Psychic symptoms (déjà vu, hallucinations, feeling of fear or anxiety, or a feeling they can’t explain)
  •  Usually lasts less than one minute
  •  May be confused with:  acting out, mystical experience, psychosomatic illness

Focal Impaired Awareness

  • Awareness impaired/inability to respond
  • Often begins with blank dazed stare
  • AUTOMATISMS (repetitive purposeless movements)
  • Clumsy or disoriented movements, aimless walking, picking things up, nonsensical speech or lip smacking
  • Often lasts one to three minutes
  • Often followed by tiredness, headache or nausea
  • May become combative if restrained
  • May be confused with:
    • Drunkenness or drug abuse
    • Aggressive behavior
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