What are the symptoms of grand mal seizures?

Symptoms of grand mal seizures are related to abnormal electrical activity in the brain, and include auras, muscle rigidity, and muscle spasms.

Aura symptoms of grand mal seizures

The aura is the initial phase of a grand mal seizure and may be marked by:

  • Abnormal sensations
  • Changes in hearing, taste or smell
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of vision or changes in vision

Tonic-clonic symptoms of grand mal seizures

Following the aura, the seizure will progress into tonic and clonic phases, which are marked by:

  • Biting your cheek or tongue
  • Incontinence (loss of control of urine or stools)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Muscle contraction of the entire body (tonic phase, which usually lasts several seconds)
  • Muscle twitching, spasms, or seizures of the entire body (clonic phase, which may last for a few minutes)

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

Grand mal seizures can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for any seizure, as prompt medical treatment may reduce the risk and severity of future seizures.

INTRODUCTION

What are grand mal seizures?

Grand mal seizures, or generalized tonic-clonic seizures, are seizures that involve muscle contractions, muscle rigidity, and loss of consciousness. These seizures result from abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Grand mal seizures affect the entire body, and may happen just once or multiple times (as in the case of epilepsy).... Read more about grand mal seizuresintroduction

CAUSES

What causes grand mal seizures?

Grand mal seizures may occur just once or, if they recur, may be an indication of epilepsy. All seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, which may be a result of injury, illness, a genetic condition, or may have no known cause. In patients with epilepsy, a grand mal seizure may arise from a trigger, such as mental or physical stress.... Read more about grand mal seizurescauses

TREATMENTS

How are grand mal seizures treated?

A single grand mal seizure generally does not require treatment, but prompt medical attention should be obtained to ensure that epilepsy does not develop. For recurrent grand mal seizures, there are generally three treatments used: medication, surgery, and electrical stimulation. Other treatments may help you cope with the complications of grand mal seizures.... Read more about grand mal seizurestreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves