Generalised Seizures

'Generalised Seizures' image

In this type, a large part of the brain is involved immediately at the outset. Consciousness is lost. What happens next is rather variable depending on the individual. The most dramatic form is the generalised tonic-clonic convulsive seizure (still sometimes called a "major" or "grand mal" seizure) in which the person becomes rigid, then falls to the ground and there is jerking of all four limbs. Breathing is laboured and there may be incontinence of urine. Not all of these features are always seen. Other types of generalised seizures include-

TONIC - in which there is a general stiffening of muscles without rhythmical jerking. The person may fall to the ground, if standing, with consequent risk of injury.

ATONIC - in which there is a sudden loss of muscle tone and a collapse to the ground (also known as "drop attacks")

MYOCLONIC - in which abrupt jerking of the limbs occurs. These often happen within a short time of waking up, either on their own or in company with other forms of generalised seizure.

ABSENCES - in which there is a brief interruption of consciousness without any signs, except perhaps for a fluttering of the eyelids. These occur characteristically in children, when they are commonly called "petit mal".