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A seizure is an episode of disturbed brain activity that can affect a variety of mental and physical functions. There are two major forms of seizures.

Also see epilepsy.


Generalized seizures

Generalized seizures seem to begin everywhere in the brain at once. They include:

  • Absence seizures (also known as petit mal seizures) – staring with brief loss of consciousness; fluttering eyelids
  • Myoclonic seizures – sporadic or repeated brief jerks of the limbs
  • Clonic seizures – repetitive, rhythmic jerking movements of head or limbs
  • Tonic seizures – loss of consciousness, stiffness and rigidity of the whole body; risk of falling
  • Tonic-clonic seizures (also known as grand mal seizures) – loss of consciousness, rigid muscles, whole-body convulsions; risk of falling
  • Atonic seizures (drop attacks) – loss of muscle tone in head or body; high risk of falling

Partial seizures

Partial seizures are also called focal or local seizures. They begin in one location of the brain.