Generalised seizures

31 January 2011
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In this type, a large part of the brain is involved from the outset and consciousness is lost.

Perhaps the most well-known form is the generalised tonic-clonic convulsive seizure (still sometimes incorrectly called "grand mal" seizure) in which the person becomes rigid, falls to the ground and experiences jerking in all four limbs. Breathing is usually laboured and noisy during such a seizure, which may last for a few minutes. People witnessing such a seizure very often feel helpless and unsure of what to do. You can find out what you should do here.

Other types of generalised seizures include:

  • Tonic seizures - in which there is a general stiffening of muscles without jerking. The person may fall to the ground if standing.
  • Atonic seizures, where there is a sudden loss of muscle tone and a collapse to the ground (also known as "drop attacks")
  • Myoclonic seizures - in which abrupt jerking of the limbs occurs. These often happen within a short time of waking up.
  • Absence Seizures - in which there is a brief interruption of consciousness without any obvious signs. These occur most commonly in children and used to be known as "petit mal" epilepsy.

Back to seizures page

Partial Seizures
 

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