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SleepMed Inc. - Seizures & EEG - Types of Seizure Disorders

Absence Seizures - Also called petit mal seizures, these are typified by lapses in awareness, sometimes with staring. Absence seizures begin abruptly but last just a few seconds. There are no warning signs and no after effects.

Atonic Seizures - Characterized by an abrupt loss of muscle tone, these events are sometimes called drop attacks, astatic or akinetic seizures. They produce head drops, loss of posture or sudden collapse. Injuries often occur from atonic seizures.

Febrile Seizures - These seizures occur in children aged three months to six years of age whose temperatures are elevated from any cause other than a central nervous system (CNS) infection.
Myoclonic Seizures - Rapid, brief contractions of muscles, generally occurring at the same time on both sides of the body is the hallmark of myoclonic seizures. Occasionally, they may only involve one arm or a foot. A variant, common to many people who do not have epilepsy, is the sudden jerk of a foot or leg during sleep.

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy - The temporal lobes, one on each side of the head just above the ears, are the sites of one of the most common forms of epilepsy. Seizure types that can originate from the temporal lobe are complex partial and simple partial seizures (see below).

Complex Partial Seizures - These are typified by unconscious actions (automatisms) such as lip smacking or rubbing the hands together. Complex partial seizures are the most common form of temporal lobe epilepsy.

Simple Partial Seizures - These may include features such as a mixture of thoughts or emotions and feelings that are hard to describe. The sudden emergence of old memories, feelings of strangeness in familiar surroundings, hallucinations of voices, music, smells, tastes and feelings of unusual fear or joy can be present.

Tonic-Clonic Seizures - Often referred to as grand mal seizures, these are the best-known type of generalized seizure. They begin with stiffening of the limbs (the tonic phase), followed by jerking of the limbs (the clonic phase). Incontinence may occur as a result of the seizure. Following the event, the patient will be lethargic, possibly confused, and will want to sleep. Headaches sometimes occur. Full recovery takes minutes to hours, depending on the individual. Approximately half the people with temporal lobe epilepsy have generalized tonic-clonic seizures as well.

Nonepileptic Seizures - Episodes that briefly change a person's behavior without being epileptic in nature are referred to as nonepileptic seizures. A person having a nonepileptic seizure may have internal sensations that mimic an epileptic seizure. To observers, even trained medical personnel, it may be difficult to differentiate between epileptic and non-epileptic events. There is an important difference in that epileptic seizures are caused by abnormal electrical charges in the brain whereas nonepileptic seizures are not.

Source: Epilepsy Foundation of America

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