What are seizures?

Seizures are uncontrolled spasms or convulsions caused by abnormal patterns of electrical activity in the brain. Because the entire brain, or any part of the brain, can be affected, there are many types of seizures with many manifestations. Seizures can result from almost any type of damage to the brain, including injury and infection. Recurrent seizures are a sign of epilepsy.

The most common types of seizures are partial, petit mal, and generalized tonic-clonic, or grand mal, seizures. Partial seizures only affect a small part of the brain and may have very specific symptoms. Petit mal seizures may only manifest themselves in a brief episode of staring and unresponsiveness. Grand mal seizures affect the entire brain. Grand mal seizures are marked by spasms of the entire body and complete loss of consciousness. Seizures may also be classified according to their cause or age of onset.

Seizures generally stop on their own. Because a person having a seizure is unconscious, it is important to make sure they do not injure themselves. Following a seizure, the person may be tired and require rest. Weakness, fatigue, and changes in mood and behavior are normal after seizures.

Seizures should be evaluated by medical professionals. For recurrent seizures or epilepsy, medications may be prescribed. In severe cases, surgery or electrical stimulation may be required. In many cases, treating the underlying cause of the seizures will help resolve them.

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


What other symptoms might occur with seizures?

Seizures may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the brain may also involve many other systems.

Perceptual symptoms that may occur along with seizures

Seizures may accompany other symptoms affecting your sensations and perceptions including:


What causes seizures?

Seizures can arise from any disorder, event or disease that damages the brain and stimulates unusual electrical activity. In some cases, seizures may result from medication side effects. Developmental factors may also lead to seizures. Finally, in some cases, seizures may not have a known cause.

Disease and disorder causes of seizures

Seizures can be caused by a variety... Read more about seizurescauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 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