Generalized seizure

Generalized Seizures

Generalized seizures are the most common types of seizure. They can cause a person to pass out, to have involuntary movements or to stare blankly. Generalized seizures are divided into five main groups:

  • Absence (formerly known as 'petit mal') seizures – a brief episode of blank 'staring' when the person typically experiences a sudden lack of consciousness that lasts a few seconds. It is common for people to have body movements such as mouth movements or eye fluttering.
  • Tonic seizures – abrupt stiffness of the muscles which may cause a fall.
  • Clonic seizures – rhythmic jerking movements of the limbs, usually on both sides of the body at the same time.
  • Myoclonic seizures – brief jerks or twitches of a muscle or group of muscles.
  • Tonic-clonic (formerly known as 'Grand Mal') seizures – a combination of 'tonic' (stiffening) and 'clonic' (jerking) muscular movements, accompanied by a loss of consciousness and sometimes a cry out.

Generalized seizures are often caused by a disturbance in the electrical activity of the brain. It can have various causes including structural damage or defects in the brain, brain damage or infection, or diseases such as epilepsy, brain tumors, and stroke. The most common cause of generalized seizures is idiopathic, which means the cause is unknown.

The main symptom of a generalized seizure is loss of consciousness. Other symptoms include involuntary muscle contractions, changes in emotions, and changes in behavior. It is important to note that not all seizures cause these symptoms – some people may experience partial or absence seizures without losing consciousness or having any other symptoms.

Treatment of generalized seizures depends on the type and severity of the seizure and the underlying cause. Treatment options include antiepileptic drugs, surgery, and lifestyle changes. It is important to talk to your doctor about the best treatment for you.