Seizure Disorder Types
Epilepsy is defined by the type of seizure it may cause.
Types of Epilepsy
- Petit-mal seizure:
- A person with petit-mal seizures has abnormal electrical activity in the brain that causes short episodes of staring and loss of awareness.
- The most common type of seizure in children between the ages of 6 and 12 years
- Grand-mal seizure:
- A grand-mal, or tonic clonic seizure, causes violent, uncontrolled muscle spasms during the seizure.
- Grand-mal seizures cause loss of consciousness.
- Tongue biting may occur.
- Loss of bladder control may occur.
- Psychomotor seizure:
- These seizures occur in an area of the brain known as the temporal lobe.
- Those with temporal lobe epilepsy usually experience an aura prior to the convulsion. The aura may include hallucinations or feelings of anxiety.
- Simple partial seizures:
- These are the most common type of seizure seen in people with epilepsy.
- The seizure is limited to one area of the brain.
- 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 a grand-mal seizure.
- Complex partial seizures:
- The seizure occurs in the frontal lobe or the temporal lobe of the brain.
- 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. Examples of automatisms include moaning, lip-smacking, chewing motions, or unusual speech.
Continue to Seizure Disorder Anatomy
- Alsaadi TM, Marquez AV. Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Sep 1;72(5):849-56. 
- Camfield P, Camfield C. Epileptic syndromes in childhood: clinical features, outcomes, and treatment. Epilepsia. 2002;43 Suppl 3:27-32. 
- 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. 
- Pearl PL, Bennett HD, Khademian Z. Seizures and metabolic disease. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2005 Mar;5(2):127-33. 
- 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.