Epilepsy - The Guide to Symptoms, Support & Info

Be in the know when you or someone you care for is suffering from epileptic seizures.

Whether you or a loved one have been newly diagnosed, you’ll be able to find a community, useful links, and information, plus further support about Epilepsy.


  1. Common Seizure Symptoms
  2. Stages of a Seizure
  3. Common Health Conditions & Syndromes
  4. How to Find Support
  5. How to be the Support
1. Common Seizure Symptoms

There are two types of seizures, generalized and focal. Generalized means the whole body can be affected whereas a focal seizure usually affects a particular area.

How a seizure occurs:

Neurons handle and transmit information back and forth between our brain and body. Two neurons, in particular, are called Excitatory and Inhibitory. When balanced, a person will lead a very normal life, however, when a person has an imbalance, such as a reduction in the Inhibitory neuron, the Excitatory neuron over stimulates parts of the brain that leads to seizure activity.

Generalized Seizures:

Tonic-Clonic Seizure (Also known as Grand Mal)

-The person loses consciousness right from the beginning

-This usually lasts between 2-3minutes and up to 5 minutes. Over 5 minutes is considered an emergency and requires immediate medical help.

-The person enters the Tonic stage which stiffens the body which may make the person, wince, cry or make noises as their muscles contract

-They next enter the Clonic stage which creates muscle spasms on both or one side of the body. Saliva may froth in the person's mouth and breathing may be affected.

Tonic Seizures

-They are very uncommon

-The person may have impaired consciousness

-They are usually developed in childhood but can happen at any age

-The person enters only the tonic stage which stiffens the body and can create muscle spasms

-After a Tonic seizure, the person is left feeling confused

Clonic Seizures

-The person may lose consciousness

-The person enters only the clonic stage which creates muscle spasms which may affect their bodily functions causing incontinence

-After a Clonic seizure, the person is left feeling confused

Atonic Seizures (Also known as drop attacks)

-This kind is the most dangerous as the person has a high risk of head trauma

-The person may not remember the seizure after gaining consciousness

-The person loses all muscle tone making the person limp, leading them to collapse suddenly

-Atonic seizures have very few warning signs with the person dropping within seconds

For more information on Head Trauma and Protective Helmets click here

Absence Seizures (Also known as Petit Mal)

-The person doesn’t remember the seizure

-This kind is very short, almost a few seconds

-The person appears to be ‘zoned out’ as they have a brief loss of consciousness

-The person cannot be brought to consciousness by waving, shaking, shouting, etc

-This type of seizure can happen several times in a day

-The person behaves normally as soon as they are conscious

Myoclonic Seizures

-The person doesn’t remember the seizure

-This person may jerk or suddenly fling out an arm or leg

-They can happen in a single event or series of them

-This person runs the risk of falling as they lose control of their muscles


Focal Seizures:

Focal onset aware (Simple Partial)

-The seizure only takes place in one area such as jerking in one area, reduced eyesight, reduced hearing or hearing the sound of buzzing.

-The person is fully present when it takes place.

-This type of seizure can evolve and turn into a Complex Partial

Focal impaired awareness (Complex Partial)

-The person may be in and out of consciousness

-They may not be able to answer questions and appear to be ‘zoned out’

-They may appear dazed or confused

-They may complete actions such as biting lips, clapping, rubbing, walking aimlessly, mumbling, etc

-The seizure usually lasts around 3-4 minutes


2. Stages of a Seizure

As with all seizures, each person and seizure type will experience different stages of a seizure. Some experience all four stages whereas some experience only one. To understand the four stages, here is an overview and a link to further information.

Prodromal (A stage that isn’t experienced by many) - Symptoms that appear days before a seizure. Symptoms to look for are depression, anger, poor sleep, anxiety, GI or Urinary issues.

Aura - Happens minutes to seconds before a seizure. The most common warning signs are altered vision, loss of hearing, anxiety, dread, deja vu, weird taste or smell, inability to speak and dizziness.

Ictus - (The seizure) Lasting between 1-3 minutes. Over 5 minutes or back to back seizures is considered dangerous and the person should seek medical help immediately.

Postictal (or Post Ictus) - (After the seizure) For some, the person may feel completely normal while others feel extremely tired, sleepy or confused. They may have suffered an injury such as a bitten tongue or cheek and may have injured a body part.

For more info about the main stages of a seizure, click here



3. Common Health Conditions & Syndromes

Seizures come in many different shapes and sizes. They can occur occasionally when a person suffers from CNS infection, hypoglycemia, ETOH (alcohol withdrawal), acid-base imbalance, hypoxia or a brain tumor.

For others who suffer from epileptic seizure activity due to a chronic condition may have mild to severe seizures on a daily/weekly basis. As each condition may affect different parts of the body or may lead to different types of seizures, the following links will help to guide you to more information about the following conditions, including further support.

Doose Syndrome - http://doosesyndrome.org/

Dravet Syndrome - https://www.dravetfoundation.org/what-is-dravet-syndrome/

Landau-Kleffner Syndrome - https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/types-epilepsy-syndromes/landau-kleffner-syndrome

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome - https://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/lennox-gastaut#1

Ohtahara Syndrome - https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/all-disorders/ohtahara-syndrome-information-page

Panayiotopoulos Syndrome - https://www.epilepsydiagnosis.org/syndrome/panayiotopoulos-overview.html

Frontal Lobe Epilepsy - https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/types-epilepsy-syndromes/frontal-lobe-epilepsy


4. Where to Find Support?

Support from the community

Community is key for both you and the person suffering from the seizures. The feeling that you are not alone can help to comfort and control seizures as you learn more about other families who may have been dealing with seizures for a prolonged period of time.

To connect with people, check out the following link to either share your story or speak to those who are also in the same shoes. You’ll find lots of forum topics including support from other individuals including parents and carers going through the same situation.


5. How to be Support?

If you are a carer of a person with seizures, a family member or close one, you can learn what to look out for, why a seizure is happening and also what you can do to support the individual. This will give both you and the person confidence that they are not alone.

Support from the professionals

A professional medical from registeredrn.com suggests using the following abbreviation to check for symptoms to help reduce potential seizures.

Protective Support

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 Did We Answer Your Questions?

If you learned a thing or two or we didn’t cover what you were searching for, we would love for you to get in touch. Don’t forget you can check out Ribcap’s fashionable Protective Headgear here and for more information on choosing the right protective headgear for your or your loved one, check out the link below.