A number of injuries or conditions can result in seizure disorders. Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder. Seizures can vary from momentary loss of attention to grand mal seizures which result in the severe loss of motor control and awareness. Seizures can be triggered in people with photosensitive epilepsy by rapidly flashing lights.
The main symptoms of epilepsy are repeated seizures. Most people have a consistent pattern of symptoms.
Doctors classify seizures by how much of the brain is affected. There are:
- partial (or focal) seizures (both simple and complex) – where only a small part of the brain is affected
- generalised seizures – where most or all of the brain is affected
Symptoms of a simple partial seizure (in which one remains fully conscious throughout) can include:
- a “rising” feeling in your stomach, such as that when on a fairground ride
- an intense feeling that events have happened before (déjà vu)
- experiencing an unusual smell or taste
- a tingling sensation, or “pins and needles”, in your arms and legs
- a sudden intense feeling of fear or joy
- stiffness or twitching in part of the body, such as an arm or hand
These seizures are sometimes known as “warnings” because they can be a sign that another type of seizure is on its way.
Complex partial seizures are when one loses their sense of awareness and can’t remember what happened after the seizure has passed.
The symptoms of a complex partial seizure normally involve more regular behaviour such as:
- smacking your lips
- rubbing your hands
- making random noises
- moving your arms around
- picking at clothes
- fiddling with objects
- adopting an unusual posture
- chewing or swallowing
For a list of the types of generalised seizures (where most or all the brain is affected) consisting vastly of the symptoms listed above, see:
For more information: