Seizure history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

History and Symptoms

Symptoms experienced by a person during a seizure depend on where in the brain the disturbance in electrical activity occurs. Recent studies show that seizures happen in sleep more often than was thought. A person having a tonic-clonic seizure may cry out, lose consciousness and fall to the ground, and convulse, often violently. A person having a complex partial seizure may appear confused or dazed and will not be able to respond to questions or direction. Some people have seizures that are not noticeable to others. Sometimes, the only clue that a person is having an absence seizure is rapid blinking or a few seconds of staring into space.

  • Change in alertness; the person cannot remember a period of time
  • Mood changes, such as unexplainable fear, panic, joy, or laughter
  • Change in sensation of the skin, usually spreading over the arm, leg, or trunk
  • Vision changes, including seeing flashing lights
  • Rarely, hallucinations (seeing things that aren't there)
  • Falling, loss of muscle control, occurs very suddenly
  • Muscle twitching that may spread up or down an arm or leg
  • Muscle tension or tightening that causes twisting of the body, head, arms, or legs
  • Shaking of the entire body
  • Tasting a bitter or metallic flavor

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