Seizures: Definition, Signs, Symptoms, Types, Causes, Differences and How to Treat a Seizure

A seizure is a medical condition in which the muscles of the body contract and relax rapidly and repeatedly, resulting in an uncontrolled shaking of the body.

Because epilepsy generally includes seizures, the term seizure is sometimes used synonymously with seizure. However, not all epileptic seizures cause seizures, and not all seizures are caused by epileptic seizures.

The seizures are also consistent with an electrical shock and improper enriched air diving. The word “fit” is sometimes used to indicate a seizure or seizure.

Signs and symptoms

When a person has a seizure, they can experience several different symptoms. These may include: a brief fainting spell, confusion, drooling, loss of bowel / bladder control, sudden whole-body tremors, uncontrollable muscle spasms, temporary cessation of breathing, and many more.

Symptoms generally last from a few seconds to around 15 minutes. If someone has a seizure like this, they are advised to make sure they do not fall or injure themselves, wipe their head, or loosen clothing or jewelry that is restricting it, and seek medical help.

Do not try to fix / hold them in place as this could cause damage or injury to the individual. Do not put anything between the person’s teeth during a seizure (including fingers).

Types of seizures

There are about a dozen types of epilepsy, and the type you have plays a role in what type of seizure you may have.

There are two main types of attacks:

Focal attacks : These start in a particular part of your brain, and their names are based on where they occur. They can cause physical and emotional effects and make you feel, see, or hear things that are not there.

About 60% of people with epilepsy have this type of seizure, which is sometimes called a partial seizure. Sometimes the symptoms of a focal seizure can be mistaken for signs of mental illness or another type of nervous disorder.

Generalized seizures – These occur when nerve cells on both sides of your brain fail. They can cause muscle spasms, shut down, or fall off.

Seizures are not always a thing of one or the other, some people have seizures that start as one type and then develop into another. And it’s not easy to classify some of them – these are called attacks of unknown onset, and they can cause both sensory and physical symptoms.

Generalized seizures

There are six types:

Tonic-clonic seizures (or grand mal) : these are the most notable. When you have this type, your body becomes tense, jerks and trembles, and you lose consciousness. Sometimes you lose control of your bladder or bowels.

They usually last 1 to 3 minutes; if they last longer, someone should call 911. That can lead to breathing problems or biting your tongue or cheeks.

Clonic seizures : Your muscles spasm, often causing your face, neck, and arm muscles to jerk rhythmically. They can last several minutes.

Tonic attacks : the muscles of the arms, legs or trunk are tense. These generally last less than 20 seconds and often occur when you are asleep. But if you are standing at that moment, you can lose your balance and fall.

These are more common in people who have a type of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, although people with other types can have them as well.

Atonic seizures – your muscles suddenly relax and your head may tilt forward. If you have something in your hand, you can drop it, and if you are standing, you could fall. They usually last less than 15 seconds, but some people have several in a row.

Due to the risk of falls, people who tend to have atonic seizures may need to wear something like a helmet to protect their head.

People who have Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and another type of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome are more likely to have these types of seizures.

Myoclonic seizures : the muscles suddenly jerk as if they have surprised you. They can start in the same part of the brain as an atonic seizure, and some people have myoclonic and atonic seizures.

Absence attacks (or petit mal) : you seem disconnected from those around you and do not respond to them. You can stare into space and your eyes can turn back in your head. They usually last only a few seconds, and you may not remember having one. They are most common in children under 14 years of age.

Focal seizures

Doctors divide these into three groups:

Simple Focal Attacks – They change the way your senses read the world around you – they can make you smell or taste something strange, and they can cause your fingers, arms, or legs to twitch.

You may also see flashes of light or get dizzy. You are not likely to lose consciousness, but you may feel sweaty or nauseous.

Complex focal seizures – These usually occur in the part of your brain that controls emotion and memory. You may pass out, but you still appear to be awake, or you may do things like gag, smack your lips, laugh, or cry.

It may take several minutes for someone having a complex focal seizure to come out of it.

Secondary generalized seizures : These start in one part of your brain and spread to nerve cells on both sides. They can cause some of the same physical symptoms as a generalized seizure, such as seizures or muscle flaccidity.


Seizures are often the result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The specific cause is often unclear. Seizures can be caused by specific chemicals in the blood, as well as infections such as meningitis or encephalitis.

A common cause in children is febrile seizures. Other possibilities include celiac disease, head injury, stroke, or lack of oxygen to the brain.

Sometimes the seizure can be caused by genetic defects or brain tumors. Seizures can also occur when blood sugar is too low and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is deficient.

Difference between seizure and seizure

Seizures and fits have been used interchangeably in the current setting most likely due to the fact that both occurrences produce similar manifestations.

First of all, the seizures occur due to some abnormalities in the electrical impulses of the brain. Therefore, there is some degree of abnormal or too many neuronal firing.

In this regard, disruption of such impulses can occur in various areas of the brain leading to varied seizure classifications.

Each type of seizure has its own distinctive symptoms, one of which is a “seizure.” In addition to the ‘seizure’, other symptoms of seizures may include an abnormal boom or bust in mood or emotions, as well as visual disturbances.

Victims may even end up staring at a blank space for an extended period of time. “Seizure” is actually considered a medical condition in itself.

However, it is also a symptom of an epileptic seizure that manifests as a series of extreme jerky movements of the muscles that repeatedly contract and then relax.

In a seizure episode, the muscles contract abnormally due to a rapid firing or brain activity that usually occurs during the seizure episode.

This is why many have come to associate seizures to be the same as seizures. If this symptom occurs during an active seizure, medical professionals have observed that the symptoms last between 30 seconds and 1 full minute.

How to manage a seizure

If someone you know experiences a seizure, it can make a big difference if you know how to help them. Most are characterized by unpredictable seizures.

A large-scale seizure involves violent shaking of the limbs, facial spasms, and foaming at the mouth due to saliva being blown through clenched teeth. The seizure may last a few minutes and the patient may need several hours to recover.

But not all seizures will produce the dramatic seizures that most people associate with the disease. Doctors have identified more than 30 different types of seizures.

Some seizures may be less obvious, affecting feelings, emotions, and behavior. Not all seizures involve seizures, spasms, or loss of consciousness.

One form, called absence of epilepsy, is usually characterized by brief lapses in consciousness. Sometimes an external physical sign such as a rapid blinking in the eyes may be the only indication that this type of attack is taking place.

There is not much you can do to stop a seizure once it starts. But you can help protect someone from harm during one. It’s worth knowing some basic first aid, and when it’s time to call 911.

First aid

It’s about taking precautions. Keep other people out of the way. Clear hard or sharp objects. Don’t try to hold your friend back or stop her movements. Lay it on its side to help keep your airway clear.

Look at your watch at the beginning of the seizure, so you can measure its length. Contrary to a popular myth, you cannot swallow your tongue during an attack. But if you put an object in its mouth, it could damage its teeth or bite you.

Milder seizures, such as a little staring or shaking the arms or legs, are not emergencies either. Still, you should keep the person away from threats, such as traffic or stairs.

Seizures in children

Seizures can occur for many reasons, especially in children. Seizures in newborns can be very different from seizures in young children, school-age children, and adolescents.

Seizures, especially in a child who has never had one, can be scary to the parent or responsible.

A low percentage of all children have seizures when they are younger than 15 years old, half of which are febrile seizures (seizures caused by fever). Febrile seizures are the most common type of seizure seen in children.

A febrile seizure occurs when a child contracts an illness, such as an ear infection, cold, or chickenpox accompanied by a fever. One in 100 children has recurrent seizures of epilepsy.

Between two and five percent of children have febrile seizures at some point in their childhood. It is not known why some children have seizures with fever, but several risk factors have been identified.

Children with family members, especially brothers and sisters, who have had febrile seizures are more likely to have a similar episode.

Children who are developmentally delayed or who have spent more than 28 days in a neonatal intensive care unit are also more likely to have a febrile seizure.

One in 4 children who have had febrile seizures in the past are also more likely to have a second episode, usually within a year.

Neonatal seizures occur within 28 days of birth. Most occur shortly after the child is born. They can be due to a wide variety of conditions.

It can be difficult to determine if a newborn is really seizing, because they often do not have seizures. Instead, their eyes appear to be looking in different directions. They may have lip smacking or periods without breathing.

Partial seizures involve only one part of the brain, and therefore only one part of the body.

Simple partial seizures have a motor (movement) component that is found in one part of the body. Children with these seizures remain awake and alert. Movement abnormalities can “march” to other parts of the body as the seizure progresses.

Complex partial seizures are similar, except that the child is unaware of what is happening. Children with these types of seizures often repeat an activity, such as clapping, throughout the seizure.

They have no memory of this activity. After the seizure ends, the child is often disoriented in a state known as the postictal period.

Generalized seizures involve a much larger portion of the brain. They are grouped into 2 types: convulsive (muscle jerks) and non-convulsive with various subgroups.

Convulsive seizures are noted by uncontrollable muscle jerks lasting a few minutes, usually less than 5, followed by a period of drowsiness known as the postictal period.

The child should return to normal except for fatigue in about 15 minutes. Often the child may have incontinence (leakage of urine or stool), and it is normal for the child not to remember the seizure.

Sometimes the jolts can cause injuries, ranging from a small bite on the tongue to a broken bone.

Infantile spasms commonly occur in children younger than 18 months. They are often associated with mental retardation and consist of sudden spasms of muscle groups, causing the child to adopt a bent height. They are frequent upon waking.

Absence seizures, also known as small seizures, are short episodes during which the child stares or blinks, with no apparent awareness of their surroundings.

These episodes generally last no more than a few seconds and start and stop abruptly; however, the child does not remember the event at all.

They are sometimes discovered after the child’s teacher reports daydreaming, if the child loses his place while reading or misses instructions for assignments.

Status epilepticus is a seizure lasting more than 30 minutes or repeated seizures with no return to normal between them. It is most common in children younger than 2 years old, and most of these children have generalized tonic-clonic seizures.

Status epilepticus is very serious. If you suspect a prolonged seizure, you should call 911. Epilepsy refers to a pattern of chronic seizures of any kind over a long period of time.

Thirty percent of children diagnosed with epilepsy continue to have repeated seizures into adulthood, while others improve over time.