Seizures – The Basics

Disturbance in the typically organized, well-coordinated, and orderly electrical impulses in the brain is all that separates a normal brain function from an epileptic seizure. Under normal circumstances, nerve transmission in the brain occurs very smoothly, allowing the electrical activities to coordinate one unit of the body with other relevant units and the brain itself. A seizure happens when the brain cells or neurons communicate in an uncoordinated manner. When this happens, electrical discharges spread throughout the brain, temporarily causing abnormal nerve cell activities which often manifest as seizures.

Types of Seizures

Attempts have been made to categorize all the types of seizures. One widely-recognized classification divides seizures according to the location of origin. There are basically two major types of seizures –partial seizure and generalized seizure.

Partial seizures come from localized areas of the brain. These are subdivided according to whether consciousness is affected or not affected by the seizure. If it is affected, it is a simple partial seizure; if the consciousness is altered during an episode of seizure, it is called a complex partial seizure.

Generalized seizures occur within larger areas of the brain and are categorized further by the effect these have on the body. It should be noted that all seizures under this category alter the consciousness of the person undergoing a seizure. These are further divided into several subtypes including tonic, clonic, tonic-clonic or grand mal, absence or petit mal, myoclonic, and atonic.

Another category of seizures is the secondary generalization type. This begins with a partial seizure that spreads throughout other areas of the brain. Rare types of epilepsy or recurrent seizure include West Syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Status Epilepticus.

There are varieties of health conditions whose symptoms are identical or closely similar with those of epileptic seizure and therefore must be differentiated. Conditions like migraine, syncope or fainting, narcolepsy, and psychiatric and psychological disorders like anxiety are among the more notable ones.


There is a wide spectrum of brain abnormalities and dysfunctions that result in seizures although there are plenty of cases, around 35% of all seizure cases, whose causes are unidentifiable. These are called idiopathic seizures.

Some of the most common causes of seizures include: sleep deprivation, head injury, drug intoxication and drug toxicity, ingestion of normal doses of drugs that typically cause the decrease in seizure threshold, infection, disturbances in metabolism, fever, withdrawal from specific chemical substances such as drugs and alcohol, lesions in the brain, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and even fever. Exposure to certain traumatic events can also trigger a type of seizure known as psychogenic non-epileptic seizure.


Management of seizure depends heavily on the type that is occurring. People suffering from an attack of generalized seizure should be protected from objects that could cause the person injury. Those having attacks of tonic-clonic seizure have characteristically violent, jerky movements. Any of these movements should not be suppressed. For those having an attack of epilepsy not longer than 5 minutes, medical assistance is not necessary. Otherwise, medical attention should be sought.

For all seizure attacks, persons nearby should place the patient on his side or in a recovery position.

Other Seizure Treatments and Your Life Articles

The First Seizure
Understanding The Stages Of A Seizure
Partial Seizures And Their Signs And Symptoms
Symptoms Of Seizure
Seizure And Its Long-Term Effects
Absence Seizures – A Different Kind Of Seizure
Complications Of Seizure
Types And Symptoms Of Partial Seizures
Seizures In Children
On-Going Treatment For Seizure
Seizures: What Causes Them?
What Are The Two Main Types Of Seizures?
Seizures – The Basics
Known Causes Of Seizures
Different Types Of Seizure
Seizure Disorder Treatment Options
Understanding Tonic-Clonic Seizure
The Most Common Causes of Seizures
How To Diagnose And Treat Seizures
Special Types Of Seizures
Generalized Seizures – Types And Symptoms
Signs And Symptoms Of Seizures
What You Need To Know About Seizures In children
Treatments And Medications For Epileptic Seizures
Drug Therapy For Seizure Disorder – First Line Aids For Seziure

Seizure Treatments and Your Emotions Videos

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