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Symptoms of Epilepsy

People who had epilepsy may experience recurrent seizures, which is the main symptom of epilepsy. These seizures are usually caused by an abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Each person may have different symptoms depends on the area of the brain in which seizure activity occurs and the type of seizure.

There are two main types of epilepsy categorized by how much of the brain is affected.

  • Partial seizures: affect only a small part of the brain.
  • Generalised seizures: affect all part of the brain.

Symptoms of Partial seizures

Symptoms of partial seizures depend on which part of the brain is affected. These include:

Simple partial seizures

During a simple partial seizure, you will be fully conscious. In this type of partial seizure you may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • A sense of déjà vu (feeling that something had happen before)
  • Changes in the way of feel, look, smell, and/or taste
  • Tingling or ‘pins and needles’ in part of your body particularly in the arms and legs
  • Jerking of muscles or twitching on one side or part of your body
  • A sudden intense emotion, such as fear or joy
  • Seeing flashing or coloured lights
  • Hallucinations

Complex partial seizures

During a complex partial seizure, you may be only partly conscious and probably won’t remember the seizures. In this type of partial seizures, symptoms may include:

  • Smacking your lips or chewing movements with your mouth
  • Doing repetitive movements such as fiddling with your clothing
  • Wandering around in a confused way
  • Making movements with your arms or legs
  • Talking nonsense, muttering or mumbling
  • Continue rubbing your hands

Symptoms of Generalised seizures

During a Generalised seizure, you will completely unconsciousness and won’t remember what happened.

Symptoms of Generalised seizure can vary depends on the types of generalised seizure. There are several types of generalised seizure, including:

Tonic-clonic seizures

Tonic-clonic seizures or also called ‘grand-mal’ seizures are the most common type of generalised seizure. About 60% of all seizures experienced by people with epilepsy are tonic-clonic seizures.

Tonic-clonic seizure has two stages – the ‘tonic’ phase followed by the ‘clonic’ phase. You can also have either the tonic or the clonic phase alone.

During the tonic phase, the symptoms may include:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Yell or cry without reason
  • Bite your tongue or cheek
  • Muscles in your arms, face and legs become stiff

During the clonic phase, the symptoms include:

  • Look pale
  • Jerking of muscles
  • Loss of control over bladder or bowel

Absence seizures

Absence seizures mainly occur in children. In this type of seizures, you may lose consciousness, look blank and your eyelids may flutter.

Atonic seizures

During an atonic seizure (also called a drop attack) the muscles in your body suddenly relax, so there is a chance you will fall to the ground cause you to injure yourself. Facial injuries are more common with this type of seizure.

Myoclonic seizures

During a myoclonic seizure, your arms, legs, head or whole body will jerk. This often happens just after you have woken up and can occur in combination with other types of generalised seizures.

If you or someone close to you experience one or more of the symptoms above, see a doctor immediately to prevent it from worsen or other complications.

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