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What are the different types of Seizures?

Epilepsy can be broadly termed as a disorder of the brain which happens as a result of certain cells in the nerves going haywire. This leads to onset of seizures which might affect the way you behave or your grasp of the visible reality. Now, epilepsy or seizures can be categorized in numerous types depending on the symptoms and causal factors. However, one can broadly define seizures in two prominent types.

What are the different types of Seizures and their Symptoms

Types of Seizures

To define seizures properly in a well-categorized way, one can align all the seizures amidst two categories which include:

1) Focal Seizures

Focal seizures begin acting up in certain area of the brain after which they are named depending on their origin. They tend to initiate both emotional and physical changes in the body while making you see, hear, feel, or believe things that might not be real. More than 60 percent of people suffering from epilepsy come under this category.

2) Generalized Seizures

These seizures happen only when the nerve cells located on both halves of the brain tends to misfire. They can cause muscle spasms, sudden blackouts, or make you fall. People tend to opt for medicines such as Levipil to bring down the symptoms of seizures which can be prescribed in varying dosage as per your condition.

Now the generalized seizures are divided into six types which include:

  • Tonic-Clonic Seizures:

These belong to the category of most noticeable seizures. They induce symptoms such as  jerks, stiffening of body, and loss of consciousness. You might even lose the control of bladder and bowels. These seizures are known to last around 1-3 minutes.

  • Clonic Seizures:

With clonic seizures, you can see rhythmic jerking in your muscles of arms, neck, and face.

  • Tonic Seizures:

If you are suffering from tonic seizures, you can expect your legs, trunk, and arms to tense up which usually lasts 20 seconds or even less. It generally happens when you fall asleep. However, if these seizures occur when you are in a standing position, it can make you lose balance leading to an uncontrolled fall. These seizures are common in people suffering from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

  • Atonic Seizures:

With Atonic seizures, you might see your muscles going limp with a head that leans to the forward direction. You might drop anything you are holding or fall down if you have been standing during the seizure. It generally lasts 15 seconds or below. However, some people might experience them several times in a single go. People with atonic seizures should always wear something like helmet while walking to avoid hitting the head.

  • Myoclonic Seizures:

If you have myoclonic seizures, your muscles might experience sudden jerk motion similar to being electrocuted. They start in a part of brain similar as atonic seizure and can be paired together.

  • Absence seizures:

Patients who suffer from absence seizures might seem a bit disconnected from anyone around them with no response to any query whatsoever. They might stare blankly into the space with eyes that are rolling back towards the head. However, the duration of these seizures is small and chances are you might not even remember or detect having something like this. These commonly occur in the children aged under 14 years.

3) Focal Seizures

Doctors often break down the focal seizures into three primary groups which include the following:

  • Simple Focal Seizures:

These types of seizures generally change the way you perceive the world surrounding you. They might make you taste or smell strange things or cause twitching of the arms, legs, or fingers. You might also see light flashes or feel dizziness. However, you most certainly won’t lose your consciousness. These seizures make you feel nauseated or sweaty.

  • Complex Focal Seizures:

This usually happens inside a part of the brain which is responsible for controlling memory and emotions. You might lose your consciousness but to the people looking at you it might seem like you are still in a conscious state. During the attack of this seizure you might smack the lips, cry, laugh or gag all the while remaining in an unconscious state. It might require you several minutes to come out of this complex seizure.

  • Secondary Generalized Seizures:

These seizures generally start at one portion of the brain that quickly spreads to the other half affected nerve cells of both halves of the brain. They tend to cause similar physical symptoms such as muscle slackness or convulsions as seen in generalized seizures.  

Additional types of Seizures

Apart from these broadly categorized types of seizures, you can find other types as well which include names such as:

  • Infantile Spasms:

These are particular types of seizures occurring from epilepsy. However, they do not fit the bill for being categorized under generalized or focal seizures.

  • PNES or Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures:

These seizures do not occur due as an epileptic seizure. However, they might look very similar to the seizures caused due to epilepsy.


Medications are usually opted as the very first strategy to deal with seizures/ epilepsy. With the help of medication, more than 70 percent of the diagnosed population tends to harvest control over the seizures. However, medications only provide a certain degree of control over the seizures with no possibility for treatment with oral medications. They come in various forms that include tablets, capsules, and syrup. For people who are unable to regain control over the seizures even after taking the medications, there are other options for treatment available as per the suggestions of the doctor handling the case. VNS, Surgery, physical therapy, and diet change are some of the practical ways to help obtain control over the seizures.

Living with Epilepsy

Even people suffering from epilepsy can lead a normal life with some lifestyle adjustments which include management of elements such as alcohol, career options, driving, employment, sex, stress, family planning, leisure and sports, clubbing, flights, etc. The key is to maintain a balance that isn’t strong enough to trigger a seizure.

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