What are the common types of seizures?

Once an individual experiences a seizure, there is disruption in the normal electrical activity in the brain. The indications of a seizure can range from muscle twitching to loss of consciousness. Always bear in mind that a seizure should not last longer than 15 minutes. Seizures are categorized into two main groups – generalized seizures and partial seizures. Take note that partial seizures are considered as the most common.

Depending on the type of seizure experienced by the individual, it is best to schedule an appointment with a doctor if an individual experiences one for the first time or has recurrent episodes without any known cause. The doctor can properly assess the condition to determine the exact type that the individual is experiencing.

What are partial seizures?

When it comes to partial seizures, the erratic electrical activity is focused on one region of the brain. There are two categories of partial seizures – simple and complex.  During a simple partial seizure, there is no change in his/her consciousness or memory. As for complex partial seizures, there are changes to his/her consciousness, behavior and memory. In most cases, these changes occur before the episode, during the seizure and right after the seizure.

The symptoms of a partial seizure include unusual muscle contractions, repetitive movements, abnormal sensations, sweating, hallucinations, forced turning of the eyes, nausea, rapid heart rate, abdominal pain, dilated pupils and flushed face.

Generalized tonic-clonic seizures


During a seizure, the individual will lose consciousness for 30 seconds up to 5 minutes.

A generalized tonic- clonic seizure or grand mal seizure involves erratic electrical activity on both hemispheres of the brain. Prior to an episode, the individual can have warning indications such as hallucinations, dizziness and changes in the senses such as vision and taste.

During a seizure, the individual will lose consciousness for 30 seconds up to 5 minutes. The individual also has tonic posture along with clonic movement. When it comes to tonic posture, the individual has muscle contractions and rigidity. As for the clonic movements, they are violent rhythmic muscular contraction and relaxation. Other symptoms of a generalized tonic-clonic seizure include breathing issues, bluish skin color, tongue or cheek biting and incontinence.

Petit mal seizures

Another form of generalized seizure that is accompanied by erratic electrical activity on both hemispheres is called as petit mal seizures or absence seizures. This type of seizure usually lasts less than 15 seconds. After an episode, the individual could not recall that it occurred.

The change in consciousness from a petit mal seizure is usually a staring spell without confusion afterward. The individual can also experience changes in muscle activity that can range from lack of movement to fluttering eyelids and fumbling of the hands.


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