What you need to know about the many types of seizures

A seizure is characterised by an uncontrolled and aberrant burst of electrical activity in the brain, which momentarily interferes with normal brain functioning. Even while seizures originate in the cortical grey matter of the brain, they can also impact a number of other areas of the brain.

During their lives, of adults will have at least one seizure, however a large percentage of those who have had one seizure will not have another one. A person may be diagnosed with a seizure disorder if they have experienced more than one seizure or if they have a disease that has the potential to induce several seizures. Epilepsy is diagnosed in a patient when they have experienced more than one seizure that was brought on by an external factor.

The definition of seizure disorders as well as the many forms of seizure disorders are covered in this page. In addition to this, it offers information on treatment options, symptoms, and when to seek medical attention.

What causes seizure disorders?

Seizures and seizure disorders can be caused by a wide variety of illnesses, disorders, and other circumstances; some examples are as follows:

  • cerebral edoema (fluid buildup around the brain)
  • infections affecting the central nervous system (CNS)
  • abnormalities of the brain
  • genetic diseases
  • damage or trauma to the head
  • the development of lesions or tumours on the brain as a result of exposure to poisons
  • Certain medications, such as central nervous system stimulants, antihistamines that cause sedation, and antipsychotics
  • Ischemia or hypoxia of the cerebral cortex, which occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen
  • autoimmune diseases
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms leading to a stroke
  • abnormalities of metabolism and electrolytes can be caused by brief exposure to flashing lights, repeated noises, portions of music or video games, or, on occasion, physical contact.
  • a severe lack of sleep excessive levels of stress
  • In many instances, the most prevalent causes of seizure disorders change depending on the patient’s age. The following are some examples according to age:
  1. Less than two years old: Fever that can cause febrile seizures, birth traumas that include the brain, metabolic abnormalities that can be inherited or acquired, and congenital neurological diseases.
  2. fever, tumours, and infections in children and adolescents aged 2 to 14.
  3. In adults, the most common causes include tumours, strokes, head injuries, and infections.
  4. Stroke, cancer, and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease are common in people of advanced age.

Types of seizure disorders

There are three primary categories of seizure disorders, which are as follows:

Epileptic seizure condition (ESD)
Epilepsy, also known as epileptic seizure disorder (ESD), is a chronic neurological ailment that causes a person to have two or more unprovoked seizures. This means that the seizures are not associated to any stresses or other transient conditions. Additionally, seizures brought on by ESD can occur at intervals of more than 24 hours. Source You Can Rely On.

Discover more about epilepsy by reading this.

Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures
People who have psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, which are also known as pseudoseizures, might experience symptoms that are comparable to those of epileptic seizures; however, these seizures are not caused by aberrant electrical brain activity.

Discover more information about pseudoseizures right here.

Nonepileptic seizures
These are the convulsions that are brought on by a particular stressful element or a transitory state. The following are some causes of seizures that are not due to epilepsy:

  • metabolic disorders
  • cardiovascular disorders
  • infections affecting the central nervous system
  • sepsis
  • withdrawal symptoms or harmful effects of the medication
  • Psychogenic illnesses are ailments that manifest itself in the body as a direct result of emotional or mental strain.
  • children suffering from fever

Different kinds of seizures

In 2017, the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) introduced a new classification system for different types of seizures. The initial step in this process is classifying seizures according to the kind of onset they have or the part of the brain where they begin.

According to the categorization system used by the ILAE, the following are the primary categories of seizures:

Generalized-onset seizures
Seizures with generalised onset are caused by networks of brain nerve cells that can be found in both hemispheres, or sides, of the brain. The majority of persons report altered states of consciousness, which frequently go all the way up to loss of consciousness. The classification of seizures with generalised onset then depends on the symptoms that are caused by the seizures as well as whether or not the seizures impact mobility.

The following are the primary categories of seizures with generalised onset:

Tonic-clonic seizures
Tonic-clonic seizures can cause a person to have twitching, jerking, spasming, or stiffening of the muscles, and these symptoms often appear on both sides of the body. Tonic-clonic seizures, which are more often referred to as grand mal seizures, cause many people to lose consciousness, fall to the ground, or scream out in pain.

Absence seizures
Absence seizures can cause someone to blink their eyes rapidly and make them appear as though they are “zoning out” or “spacing out.” Absence seizures are most commonly referred to as petit mal seizures.

Seizures with a localised onset, often known as focal seizures
The epileptic activity that causes focal seizures begins on one side of the brain and might impact only a small region or more extensive areas of the body. Similar to how generalized-onset seizures impact muscle activity and tone over the whole body, focal seizures often only affect one side of the body at a time. It is possible for focal seizures to evolve into tonic-clonic seizures, which happens when the seizures expand to encompass both sides of the brain.

The medical profession further divides focal seizures into two categories, each of which is denoted by the manner in which the patient’s awareness or consciousness is affected. The two kinds are termed simple partial seizures, which people used to call focal aware seizures, and focused impaired awareness seizures, which people used to call complicated partial seizures.

Seizures with an unknown onset
When medical professionals are unable to determine the cause of a patient’s seizure, they speak to the condition as having an unknown beginning. As further information about the patient’s condition becomes available, a physician may make a diagnosis of focal or generalised seizures for them.


Different people can experience different types of seizures, each with its own unique set of accompanying symptoms. When someone is having a violent seizure, they often lose their balance and fall to the ground. People who have less severe seizures might merely feel or act strange after they have one. The majority of epileptic seizures only continue for a few seconds to a few minutes.

A seizure can cause one or more of the following symptoms, which can be experienced by many of the affected individuals:

  • weird sensations, such as unusual odours or tastes
  • changed awareness or consciousness
  • muscular spasms, jerks, or twitching in some parts of the body
  • severe muscle stiffening or contracting involving the entire body convulsions are the medical term for these types of muscle contractions
  • rapid blinking
  • screaming out or being unable to speak
  • feeling confused, disoriented, or dazed spacing or zoning out having very odd feelings that may be indescribable out-of-body sensations, such as believing that the body feels different or looks odd, a detached sensation, or the feeling that people look familiar or strange when they should not lapses in memory numbness, tingling, or electric shocks in parts of the body headaches losing sensation in parts of the body crying out or being unable
    After experiencing a seizure with generalized onset, many people experience the following symptoms, which can last anywhere from a few minutes to many hours:

deep sleep muscle discomfort or pain
Confusion and a lack of physical strength
The treatment and administration of
People who suffer from epileptic seizures or seizure disorders require individualised treatment strategies that are dependent on the underlying cause of their disease. Among the several treatment possibilities are:

eradicating the cause whenever it is feasible to do so, including but not limited to: surgical removal of tumours; surgical correction of malformations; medical treatment of infections or metabolic disorders; removal of excess fluid from around the brain; and weaning off, or stopping, consumption of alcohol or drug use.
Changing one’s pharmaceutical regimen in accordance with a physician’s orders
if two or more seizures occur and other drugs or surgery are unable to remove or treat the cause, then traditional epilepsy surgery is performed, and seizure control is achieved by the use of anticonvulsant medication. if using two or more anticonvulsants at therapeutic dosages does not control the seizures, there may be another option.
If the seizures continue for more than five minutes, emergency medicine should be used to halt them.
Individuals who are unable to have surgery may benefit from having medical devices implanted. In conjunction with anticonvulsant medicine, they help control seizures by stimulating the left vagus nerve through the use of a device similar to a pacemaker. It is possible to interrupt seizure activity before it even begins by implanting a device that is capable of programmed responsive neurostimulation in up to two focal locations of the brain where seizures begin.

Surgery typically results in a considerable improvement for patients whose seizures originate in regions of the brain that can be surgically removed. In rare cases, the need for anticonvulsant medication can be eliminated entirely after surgical treatment of epileptic seizures. Nevertheless, it’s possible that some individuals will still need to take the drugs, although it’s common for them to need to take a reduced dosage or only one pill at a time.

Seizures can be frightening and appear to be hazardous, but the vast majority of seizures, especially those that are mild or only last for a few seconds to minutes, are completely safe.

People who suffer from seizure disorders have access to a variety of resources that can assist them in better managing their seizures and lowering their exposure to potential risks. The following are some common management tips:

teaching family members, friends, and roommates to roll them onto their left side if they are having a seizure and not attempt to protect their tongue unless they are choking going to a safe area away from furniture or anything else that could cause harm and lying down with a pillow under the head and loose clothing around the neck if a seizure is coming on avoiding activities that could cause serious harm if a seizure took place during them, such as swimming, having a seizure during
obtaining a enough amount of sleep monitoring seizure activity, including symptoms, length, warning signals, possible stressors, and conditions that may have preceded the seizure
lowering or controlling one’s stress levels

When to seek medical attention:
If a person has never been diagnosed with a seizure condition but has experienced a seizure, they should make an appointment with a medical professional as soon as they can. They need to see a medical professional as well if the seizures that have been identified develop worse, become more frequent, or produce new or unusual symptoms.

It is common for those who are present when someone else is having a seizure or is recuperating from one to be faced with the decision of whether or not to call for emergency medical assistance.

If someone has any of the following symptoms, it is critical to phone 911 or take them to an emergency room immediately:

a seizure that lasts for more than five minutes.
Never had a seizure before this one; suffered an injury while having the seizure for the first time; and never had a seizure before this one.
a seizure while in water difficulty breathing or walking after a seizure other underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, or if you are pregnant

In summary, seizures and seizure disorders can be caused by a number of different illnesses.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), with the appropriate therapy, up to Trusted Source 70 percent of persons who have epilepsy might cease suffering seizures by taking anticonvulsant medication.

If someone has their first seizure, or if their seizures get worse or change, they should make an appointment with their primary care physician.

If someone’s seizure lasts more than five minutes, if they have numerous seizures in quick succession, or if they have problems walking or breathing following a seizure, it is imperative that they get immediate medical attention.

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