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Understanding Your Seizure Disorder

November 06, 2019

Understanding Your Seizure Disorder

When you think of a seizure, you probably imagine the type that involves violent muscle contractions and loss of consciousness. But not all seizures look exactly the same. Here, we break down what you need to know about common types of seizures, as well as when to talk with your doctor.

What do common types of seizures look like? While seizures may not look the same from person to person, Rajinder Singh, DO, epileptologist with Kettering Brain & Spine, explains that there are three main types—grand mal seizures, complex partial seizures, and simple partial seizures.

  • Grand mal seizures: These are the seizures that many people think of first. “Symptoms can include stiffness of extremities, eyes rolling backward, loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes, tongue bite, and loss of bladder control,” says Dr. Singh. Often people will feel confused after a grand mal seizure or may even go to sleep.
  • Complex partial seizures: The person will have an altered awareness of their surroundings, along with some repetitive movements like lip smacking or hand fidgeting.
  • Simple partial seizures: The patient’s cognition will remain intact, but one part of the body could be having repetitive symptoms—such as a hand moving uncontrollably, going numb, or tingling.

Diagnosis and treatment

If you experience any of these seizure symptoms, talk with your doctor to find a diagnosis, and discuss treatment options.

One of the common tests to help with diagnosis is called an electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG assesses electrical activity of the brain, explains Dr. Singh. “With data from the EEG and a clinical history, we can often reach diagnosis and start treatment.”

Stay in control

While seizures can be disruptive, it is possible to live a normal, healthy life with seizures. Learn more about treatment options for seizures or request a referral.