Seizure Symptoms: Early Signs, Post-Seizures, and More (2023)

A person having a seizure may have muscle spasms, blink rapidly, fall to the ground, or lose consciousness. They will require medical diagnosis and treatment for the underlying cause of the seizures.

Seizures can occur as a side effect of a health condition that originates in the brain, such as epilepsy.

Nonepileptic seizures can also occur. These vary in type and can affect people with curable or reversible health conditions.

Other seizure catalysts include:

  • Altofebres
  • infections
  • head injuries
  • hits
  • some drugs

This article will discuss in more detail the symptoms and types of seizures, their causes, side effects, and much more.

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People sometimes experience certain sensations, called auras, before a seizure. These symptoms are the result of electrical changes in the brain that occur when the seizure begins.

They act as a warning that a seizure will occur. However, the exact symptoms will depend on where in the brain the seizure begins.

In accordance withMedicina John Hopkins, an aura usually occurs before a focal seizure, especially a complex focal seizure. The most common aura involves feelings like:

  • Already seen
  • imminent destruction
  • time
  • euphoria

People may also experience visual changes, hearing abnormalities, or changes in smell before having a seizure.

If a person notices any of these symptoms, they may want to follow up. Recording details of symptoms and when they occur can help your doctor diagnose and treat seizures.

Symptoms can vary depending on the type of adult seizure, but may include:

  • losing consciousness
  • falling to the ground
  • rapid eye movements
  • drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • teeth or jaw closure
  • experiencing incontinence
  • having uncontrollable muscle spasms
  • curious
  • have trouble speaking

Seizures can last a few minutes. However theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Encourage people to call 911 if:

  • a seizure lasts more than 5 minutes
  • a seizure-related injury occurs
  • the person has never had a seizure before
(Video) Epilepsy: Types of seizures, Symptoms, Pathophysiology, Causes and Treatments, Animation.

Babies can also have seizures. However, a person may find it more difficult to recognize them because a baby's typical, healthy responses may be similar to the symptoms of a seizure.

Newborns often twist, twist, or contort their faces into grimacing expressions. Therefore, a person can easily mistake these movements for seizures or not recognize them as seizure symptoms.

Seizure symptoms may include any or all of the following:

  • jerking stiffness of the arms or legs, which may alternate from side to side
  • an upward push of the entire upper body or a push of both legs towards the belly
  • changes in facial expressions, breathing, or heart rate

In accordance withMedicine from the University of Chicago, seizures are particularly likely if a baby repeats the same movements for roughly the same duration at the same time of day, usually when awake or asleep. For babies prone to seizures, the symptoms often occur every day.

In general, research suggests that genetics play a role in whether a baby will have seizures.

according to a2018 research review, one third of children withFeverish convulsionshave a family history of seizures The risk of a baby having febrile seizures is about 20% with an affected sibling and 33% with affected parents.

Aftermath of a seizure

(Video) Warning Signs of a Seizure | Prevent Seizure | Can you feel a Seizure Coming? - Dr. Advait Kulkarni

After a seizure, a person can experience a variety of effects that can persist for several minutes or even hours.

In accordance with

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Cerebrovascular Accidents

, people may feel tired, weak, and confused after a seizure ends. Other common symptoms includeHeadachesor pain in the muscles that contracted during the seizure.

The specific side effects a person experiences can help a health professional determine where in the brain it originated.

An example is Todd's palsy, a temporary paralysis of a part of the body due to the area of ​​the brain where the seizure originated. If the seizure originates in the temporal lobe, a person is more likely to experience changes in language or behavior.

In accordance withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, there are two main types of seizures:focal onsetand general start.

Generalized seizures affect both sides of the brain and include absence seizures and tonic-clonic seizures. These types of seizures produce many common seizure symptoms, such as:

  • rapid eye movement
  • loss of consciousness
  • muscle spasms
  • Screams
  • falling to the ground

Focal seizures, or partial seizures, originate in a single area of ​​the brain. Subcategories of focal seizures include:

  • Conscious focal seizures:They affect a small part of the brain and usually cause spasms or changes in sensations such as sight, sensation, smell, or taste.
  • Unconscious focal seizures:These seizures can make people feel dizzy or confused. A person may lose the ability to speak or process language for several minutes after this type of seizure occurs.
  • Secondary generalized seizures:These seizures start in one part of the brain but spread to other parts of the brain as they progress, leading to a tonic-clonic seizure.

People with epilepsy can experience all of these types of seizures.

(Video) Types of seizures and their warning signs

Non-epileptic psychogenic seizures may also occur, due to psychological distress. Although they are not epileptic seizures, they do have similar symptoms.

These symptoms include:

  • in and out of consciousness
  • head and body shaking
  • eyes wide Shut

Research suggests thatmore commoncause is a conversion disorder. This occurs when a person has the symptoms of a health condition without an actual underlying condition or injury.

Nerve cells in the brain send electrical signals to communicate. Any change in this electrical activity can cause seizures. Factors that can cause abnormal electrical activity include:

  • electrolyte imbalance
  • high fever
  • drug or alcohol withdrawal
  • concussion
  • high or low blood sugar levels

according to aarticle 2021, genetics play a role in whether a person will have epilepsy. The article also lists other possible causes of seizures:

  • hypoglycemia
  • medicines
  • abstinence syndrome
  • WHY
  • head trauma
  • fever
  • sleep deprivation

With a treatable underlying cause, such as hypoglycemia, seizures are unlikely to return after treatment.

For epilepsy specifically, the CDC states that the condition isprobablydevelop in children under 2 years of age and adults over 65 years of age.

Not all seizures are an emergency, and although they can be fatal, mostCenters for Disease Control and Preventionstates that most people can safely live with seizures. Seizures can be life-threatening if:

  • They put a person at risk of falling heavily, suffocating, or drowning.
  • Are the result of a serious health condition, such asAVCthe braintumor.
  • They last more than 5 minutes.

Although very rare, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) does occur. It refers to deaths that have no other cause than the seizure itself.

(Video) Seizures: What Causes Seizures? Symptoms and when you need to see a Doctor.

SUDEP is the cause of death in approximately1.16 out of 1000 peoplewith epilepsy

If a person is having a seizure for the first time, they will need immediate medical attention. A doctor can then diagnose the underlying cause and suggest the appropriate treatment.

If a person has more severe subsequent seizures, they should also seek medical help. A doctor can watch for patterns, discuss any side effects, and re-evaluate treatment to help reduce the severity of seizures.

People experiencing seizures may find it helpful to record details of each episode to report to their doctor.

If people witness someone having a seizure, they should call 911 for any seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes, according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, or if any injury occurs during the seizure.

Seizures can be epileptic or nonepileptic and result from a disruption in the activity of nerve cells in different parts of the brain. Seizures usually only last a few minutes at a time.

A person can experience a variety of symptoms before, during, and after a seizure.

Tracking the specific symptoms of a seizure can help your doctor diagnose or adjust seizure treatment. Learning to recognize the warning signs of a seizure can also help people get to a safe place before a seizure occurs.

Read this article in Spanish.

(Video) How to Help if Someone has a Focal Seizure - Epilepsy Action Employer Toolkit


What are 2 symptoms a person might have after a seizure? ›

The period following a seizure is called the postictal state. During this time, you may be confused and tired, and you may develop a throbbing headache. This period usually lasts several minutes, although it can last for hours or even days.

How do you feel before and after a seizure? ›

Before a seizure, you might have warning signs like a headache or tingling. After the seizure, you may feel confused, tired, or sore. Read on to learn about how having different types of seizures might feel.

How long do seizure symptoms last before a seizure? ›

Prodrome stage

This stage may kick in between 10 minutes to several days before a seizure physically manifests. Common symptoms of the prodrome stage include the following: Confusion. Anxiety.

What are the 3 signs of a seizure? ›

Seizures symptoms vary and can include a sudden change in awareness or full loss of consciousness, unusual sensations or thoughts, involuntary twitching or stiffness in the body or severe stiffening and limb shaking with loss of consciousness (a convulsion.)

What happens to your body before a seizure? ›

Often, before experiencing a seizure, someone may experience an “aura.” Auras may cause sensations of strange tastes and smells, nausea, anxiety, or a fluttering feeling, and they can serve as a warning for someone who has endured many previous seizures.

What are the 4 stages of a seizure? ›

The four phases of seizure are:
  • Prodromal.
  • Early ictal (the “aura”)
  • Ictal.
  • Postictal.

What medications can cause seizures? ›

Antidepressants, diphenhydramine, stimulants (including cocaine and methamphetamine), tramadol and isoniazid account for the majority of cases. However, substances implicated in drug‐induced seizures have evolved over time as new drugs enter the market.

Can a doctor tell if you've had a seizure? ›

Tests for diagnosing seizures

If this is your first seizure, your doctor may want to do some scans to look at the structures in your brain. A common form of imaging is MRI. Your doctor may also want to assess how the naturally occurring activity in your brain is functioning. To do this, an EEG is performed.

What are postictal symptoms? ›

The postictal state is a period that begins when a seizure subsides and ends when the patient returns to baseline. It typically lasts between 5 and 30 minutes and is characterized by disorienting symptoms such as confusion, drowsiness, hypertension, headache, nausea, etc.

How long does it take to feel normal after a seizure? ›

Ending. As the seizure ends, the postictal phase occurs - this is the recovery period after the seizure. Some people recover immediately while others may take minutes to hours to feel like their usual self.

Can MRI detect seizures? ›

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is the diagnostic tool that identifies structural changes in the brain that may cause seizures or be associated with epilepsy.

What are the symptoms after a seizure called? ›

The postictal state is a period that begins when a seizure subsides and ends when the patient returns to baseline. It typically lasts between 5 and 30 minutes and is characterized by disorienting symptoms such as confusion, drowsiness, hypertension, headache, nausea, etc.

What is the after effects of a seizure called? ›

As the seizure ends, the postictal phase occurs - this is the recovery period after the seizure. Some people recover immediately while others may take minutes to hours to feel like their usual self.

What do you after someone has a seizure? ›

Stay with the person until the seizure ends and he or she is fully awake. After it ends, help the person sit in a safe place. Once they are alert and able to communicate, tell them what happened in very simple terms. Comfort the person and speak calmly.

What is normal behavior after a seizure? ›

After a seizure, the person may remain unconscious for several minutes as the brain recovers from the seizure activity. He or she may appear to be sleeping or snoring. Gradually the person regains awareness and may feel confused, exhausted, physically sore, sad or embarrassed for a few hours.

What is early post traumatic seizure? ›

Definition — Early posttraumatic seizures are defined by their occurrence within one week of head trauma. These are acute symptomatic events and are not felt to represent epilepsy. A distinct category of immediate seizures, those occurring upon or within seconds of impact, is controversial.

Can stress cause seizures? ›

Emotional stress also can lead to seizures. Emotional stress is usually related to a situation or event that has personal meaning to you. It may be a situation in which you feel a loss of control. In particular, the kind of emotional stress that leads to most seizures is worry or fear.

How far back can an EEG detect a seizure? ›

EEG: If performed within 24-48 hours of a first seizure, EEG shows substantial abnormalities in about 70% of cases. The yield may be lower with longer delays after the seizure.

What heart problems cause seizures? ›

Cardiac arrhythmias can cause convulsive syncope, which is a seizure-like episode. Cardiac syncope is often due to structural changes or mechanical issues in the heart. Most cases of arrhythmia that lead to cardiac syncope involve ventricular tachycardia (v-tach).

What problems can seizures cause? ›

They can cause a sudden loss of consciousness, body stiffening and shaking. They sometimes cause people to lose control of their bladder or to bite their tongue. They may last for several minutes. Tonic-clonic seizures also may start as focal seizures that then spread to involve most or all of the brain.


1. What Really Causes Epilepsy?
2. What Happens in Your Brain During a Seizure | WebMD
3. Epilepsy in schools: what does a focal seizure look like?
(Epilepsy Action)
4. What To Do If Someone Has A Seizure - First Aid Training - St John Ambulance
(St John Ambulance)
5. Absence seizure, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.
(Medical Centric)
6. Signs and Symptoms of Epilepsy
(UNTV News and Rescue)
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