Seizures occur in the brain when there are changes in its electrical activity. When the changes are happening in a rapid or dramatic pace, seizures will develop and may cause multiple noticeable symptoms.

When seizures occur, the body will be affected almost immediately and is the most common way for people to notice brain seizures in others. Severe brain seizures often involve violent and erratic shaking and loss of motor functioning. It also impairs cognitive abilities, making it difficult for the person experiencing seizures to seek for help.

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However, there are ways to identify whether a seizure will occur, and there are ways to identify potential seizures in the people around you.

Developing a better understanding of brain seizures, its symptoms, causes, and treatments are important as seizures are not only fatal but can cause significant medical conditions that can result in permanent disability.

What are the Different Types of Brain Seizures?

brain seizures
  • Non-epileptic seizures. This is the most common type of seizure and can happen to anyone at any time. This is the result of rapid electrical activity in the brain. Non-epileptic seizures often occur because of a recent physical injury such as a blow to the head neck, or from a disease or illness. The good thing about non-epileptic seizures is that they can go away with proper treatment. However, this condition can worsen if left untreated.
  • Partial seizures. Other names for this type of seizure can are referred to as focal, Jacksonian, and temporal lobe seizures. This seizure occurs in people who have epilepsy. These seizures do not go away and can happen anytime. Partial seizures only occur partially in the brain and will only affect one side. Partial seizures can happen as a result of physical injury to the neck or above or medical conditions and illness. As partial seizures only happen to one side of the brain, only half the body will be affected. Violent physical shaking and cognitive impairment will occur.
  • Generalized seizures. These seizures occur on both sides of the brain and affect both sides of the body. Like partial seizures, this seizure occurs in people who have epilepsy. Generalized seizures include grand mal or tonic-clonic seizures. These seizures cause loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions as a result of epilepsy.
  • Petit mal seizures. Also known as absence seizures – are another type of generalized seizure but less severe. Petit mal seizures have much few physical symptoms and are difficult to be identified by others. People who suffer this seizure often space out and stare into nothing without being able to focus their attention on anything. After recovery, they will not have any recollection or memory of the seizure. These can happen at any time of the day. This seizure may occur in anyone who has sustained a recent injury to the head or illness.

What Causes Brain Seizures?

Brain seizures can happen to anyone at any time. Sometimes, symptoms and complications can be identified before the actual seizure so you can prepare, and other times they can happen out of nowhere.

Seizures can happen due to genetic or recent injuries or lifestyle changes. Here are the most common causes of brain seizures.

  • Recent head injury or trauma
  • Meningitis or other brain infections
  • Sustained brain injury in childhood
  • Sustained brain injury at birth
  • Birth defects
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Recent or past stroke attack
  • Narcotics 
  • Drug withdrawal
  • Imbalance of electrolytes
  • Animal bite or sting
  • Accidental Electric shock
  • Epilepsy
  • Fever
  • Kidney, liver, organ failure

What are the Symptoms and Signs of Brain Seizures?

brain seizures

Being able to identify symptoms of an upcoming seizure is the best way of being able to manage it, prevent it and find support. Once you are suffering the actual seizure, getting help or recovering is extremely difficult, and outcomes may be fatal. Differentiating pre-seizure symptoms and actual seizures may be the difference in preventing permanent disability or fatality.

The symptoms that may occur before the actual seizure include:

  • Sudden feelings of fear or anxiousness
  • Sudden nausea
  • Headaches, throbbing pain in the head and/or dizziness
  • Impaired vision
  • Sudden jerking of arms or legs
  • Sudden panic 

The symptoms that indicate an actual seizure is in progress include:

  • Losing consciousness/fainting
  • Memory loss after recovery
  • Uncontrollable spasms in muscles
  • Drooling or frothing at the mouth
  • Making unusual noises, e.g. grunting
  • Inability to maintain balance and falling over
  • Strange taste in your mouth
  • Clenching and grinding of teeth
  • Tongue biting
  • Sudden rapid eye movements
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control

What are the Stages of Brain Seizures?

There are three stages to every brain seizure. The three stages of brain seizures will help you to develop the process of a brain seizure, the typical symptoms you can expect, and in what order they will happen. 

1st Stage: Aura

This stage occurs just before the seizure begins. The symptoms will happen suddenly and may only last a very short moment or even a few seconds. When in this stage, you may experience intense fear, vision impairment, dizziness, Deja Vu, numbness of body parts headaches and panic. (If the symptoms of this stage persist for an extended period and don’t develop into the next stage, it is considered as a partial seizure.)

2nd Stage: Middle

During this stage, intense electrical changes happen in your brain. The symptoms that happen in this stage are usually hard for people within your external environment to identify.

Most of the symptoms and feelings you get are usually inside your head. You may hear, feel and taste things that you don’t necessarily see. There are still physical symptoms that others can see.

Common symptoms during this stage include difficulty breathing, blacking out or sudden fainting, loss of muscle motor functioning, hallucination, memory loss, drooling and confusion.

3rd Stage: Ending

When your brain tries to gather nerve cells to stop misfiring, this is identified as the third and final stage. Your body will begin to relax, and the after-effects of seizures will begin to set in.

The duration of this stage depends on the type of seizure you experience and its level of intensity. Depending on the seizure, recovery can be very quick or may take a few hours. 

During this stage, it’s common to have headaches, fatigue, loss of bladder control, hunger and thirst as well as weakness in the body.

When is the Right Time to See a Doctor?

brain seizures

When you feel symptoms such as persistent headaches or cognitive issues, you should speak with a doctor straight away. Those who have had a recent injury or diagnosed with a disease or illness should already have doctors advice even if they have never experienced a seizure.

If you feel confusion, headaches, fatigue or anything out of the normal, do not risk your health by not informing your doctor. Brain seizures can be prevented. But only if we give it the proper attention and awareness that it deserves. And visiting your medical practitioner when you suspect it is the first step in doing that.

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.