Recurrent seizures can adversely affect an individual’s relationships, work life, and safety, so knowing how to help a person who has epilepsy is critical.
There are different types of seizures that can occur in someone who has epilepsy, and the symptoms will vary depending upon the type of seizure that’s experienced. In the majority of cases, a patient will exhibit the same type of seizure every time, making symptoms similar from one seizure to another.
Focal, or partial, seizures occur when there’s abnormal activity in one part of the brain. These could happen without a loss of consciousness, in which case they’re referred to as simple partial seizures, or they could cause a change or a loss of awareness or consciousness.
Individuals who experience a simple partial seizure will have altered emotions, or they may involuntarily jerk a body part and have sensory symptoms, like dizziness, that occur spontaneously.
A complex partial seizure, also known as a focal dyscognitive seizure, causes a patient to stare off. He or she won’t be able to respond normally. There could also be repetitive movements, such as walking in circles or chewing, during this type of seizure.
A generalized seizure will involve every part of the brain. There are actually six forms of generalized seizures, and they include an absence seizure, a tonic seizure, an atonic seizure, a clonic seizure, a tonic-clonic seizure, and a myoclonic seizure.
Absence seizures used to be referred to as petit mal seizures, and they typically happen in children. The individual affected will stare into space or exhibit subtle movements during a brief loss of their awareness.
A tonic seizure will cause the muscles to stiffen. On the other hand, atonic seizures, which are also referred to as drop seizures, will cause loss of control over the muscles, causing a person to fall.
Clonic seizures will cause repeated, jerking movements of the muscles, and symptoms will usually show up in the arms, face, and neck. Myoclonic seizures will usually cause brief twitches or jerks of the legs and arms.
Tonic-clonic seizures, which used to be referred to as grand mal seizures, will be the most dramatic and will cause sudden loss of consciousness, a stiffening and shaking of the body, biting of the tongue, and loss of control over the bladder.
If you’re ever in the presence of someone who exhibits symptoms indicating that they’re experiencing a seizure, you should:
A seizure can be frightening for the sufferer and those who witness it. Having an understanding of the condition and how to help will allow you to remain in control.