Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Seizure Disorder Symptoms

The symptoms of epilepsy vary according to the type of seizure.

Symptoms of tonic clonic seizure (grand-mal seizure) include:

Common symptoms that occur after a tonic clonic seizure (grand-mal seizure) include:

Those with psychomotor seizure, also called temporal lobe epilepsy, have seizures that occur in an area of the brain known as the temporal lobe.

Two types of seizures may occur in those with temporal lobe epilepsy:

Symptoms of complex partial seizure include:
  • The person has decreased awareness of himself and his surroundings.
  • In most cases, the person will not respond.
  • In some cases, they respond only to very simple commands.
  • Commonly, the person displays automatisms, which are involuntary actions or vocalizations:
  • Emotional outbursts
    • Lip smacking
    • Mumbling
    • Picking at clothing

Symptoms of simple partial seizure include:
  • Aura:
    • Sensation that a seizure is going to occur
    • May include hallucinations: false perception of something that does not exist
    • May include anxiety
  • The person remains conscious during the seizure.
  • The person appears anxious during the seizure.
  • The person may make repetitive movements that are confined to a single area of the body, such as the thumb or the big toe.
  • Simple partial seizures can spread within the brain, leading to symptoms of a grand-mal seizure.

For more information:

Continue to Seizure Disorder Evaluation

Last Updated: Jan 22, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Seizure Disorder References
  1. Alsaadi TM, Marquez AV. Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Sep 1;72(5):849-56. [16156345]
  2. Camfield P, Camfield C. Epileptic syndromes in childhood: clinical features, outcomes, and treatment. Epilepsia. 2002;43 Suppl 3:27-32. [12060004]
  3. Kinsman SL, Vining EP, Quaskey SA, Mellits D, Freeman JM. Efficacy of the ketogenic diet for intractable seizure disorders: review of 58 cases. Epilepsia. 1992 Nov-Dec;33(6):1132-6. [1464275]
  4. Pearl PL, Bennett HD, Khademian Z. Seizures and metabolic disease. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2005 Mar;5(2):127-33. [15743550]
  5. Posner EB, Mohamed K, Marson AG. A systematic review of treatment of typical absence seizures in children and adolescents with ethosuximide, sodium valproate or lamotrigine. Seizure. 2005 Mar;14(2):117-22. [15694565]
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