People living with epilepsy have different types of seizures.
Seizures can take on many different forms, and seizures affect different people in different ways. Some people may seem to just stare while another person may fall and jerk. The difference between types of seizures is in how and where they begin in the brain.
1. Focal Onset seizures. This is a seizure that begins on one side of the brain. A person is aware of their surroundings, is alert and can recall events during the seizure. Some may “freeze” during the seizure and hence may not respond to others during the seizure. It can last less than 2minutes.
2. Focal onset impaired awareness seizure. This is a seizure that begins on one side of the brain and the person has a change in their level of awareness. The person can forget what happened before or after the seizure. During the seizure, the person may have involuntary movements (automasims),fumbling, picking at clothes,moving the mouth et.One may look tired or confused for a while after the seizure
3. Focal to Bilateral tonic-clonic seizure. These are seizures that start on a limited area on one side of the brain then spread to involve both sides. They start suddenly and the movements can be strong or forceful.
4. Tonic-Clonic seizure: This is what most people relate to when they hear the word seizure.It is also called convulsion. Tonic(stiffening) phase comes first;whereby all muscles stiffen,the person may cry aloud, losses consciousness and falls to the floor. The clonic(rhythmical jerking) phase follows; arms and legs jerk rapidly and rhythmically then after a few minutes it slows and stops
5. Absence seizure: This causes staring into space or lapses in awareness.This is a generalized onset seizure, meaning that it begins on both sides of te brain at the same time.It goes on for a brief moment and then the person recovers immediately. They are common in children and are also called petit mal seizures.
6. Atypical Absence Seizures: This is a type of absence seizure but it’s different;in that a person ay stare but maybe able to respond abit. You may also notice eye blinking, chewing movements, sacking of the lip,small hand movements. If a person has this seizure, they may stop talking in the middle of the sentence.This mostly affects school children. It may last 5 to 30seconds.
7. Atonic Seizure: “Atonic” means without tone. Muscles suddenly become limp.These seizures are called “drop attacks”.Part of te body may become limp eg eyelids may droop,the ead may drop forward or the person may drop things.One may get injured when they fall so it’s important to ensure head protection.If the seizure starts on one part of the brain and a loss of tone on one part of the body;it’s called focal motor atonic seizure. If it affects both sides of the brain, it’s called generalized onset atonic seizures.
8. Clonic seizure: “Clonus” (KLOH-nus) is fast stiffening and relaxing of a muscle that happens repeatedly. It is repeated jerking. Clonic seizure movements cannot be stopped by restraining or repositioning the arms or legs of the person. Just clonic seizures are rare; the movements are mostly seen during a tonic-clonic seizure. If the seizure starts in the motor area on one side of the brain; it’s called focal clonic seizures and the movements affect part of the body. If the seizures affects both sides of the brain at once, they are generalized clonic seizures and the movements affect the whole body.
9. Tonic Seizures: In a tonic seizure, there is increased muscle tone and the body, arms, or legs become suddenly stiff or tense. They are brief and one maybe either aware or have a slight change in awareness.If a person was standing during the seizure, they may fall down.If it starts on one part of the brain and causes stiffening of part of the body;these are focal tonic seizures.If it starts on both sides of the brain,the wole body may become stiff from the beginning and this is a generalized tonic seizure.
10. Myoclonic seizure: Myoclonic seizures are brief,shock-like jerk movements of a muscle.”Myo” means muscle and “clonus” means rapidly alternating contraction and relaxation (jerking) of a muscle. They occur for a second or two.