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If you have a seizure and you have never had one before, you should seek medical care following the incident.

Seizure Symptoms

It is important to know that symptoms of a seizure can vary widely based on the type and severity of the seizure. Common symptoms of seizures include:

  • Staring blankly
  • Uncontrollable movement of the eyes
  • Repetitive motions, such as smacking your lips
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
  • Convulsions and jerking
  • Tremors or twitching
  • Confusion

Prepare for the Visit to Your Doctor or Healthcare Provider

Prior to Visit

  • Write down questions you want answered
  • Ask someone to come with you to help ask questions and remember what your doctor or healthcare provider tells you

During the Visit

  • Write down the names of any medicines, treatments, or tests that your doctor of healthcare provider prescribes or recommends
  • Write down all instructions your doctor or health care provider gives you
  • Write down the date, time, and purpose of any follow-up appointments

A doctor or other health care provider will evaluate you after your seizure to determine if the seizure was caused by something specific, such as head trauma, alcohol or drugs, or an infection of some kind. You may not need anti-seizure medication if the cause of the seizure can be identified and resolved or avoided in the future.

Diagnosis

To make a diagnosis, your doctor or healthcare provider may do:

  • A complete neurological exam
  • Blood work and other lab tests to see if there are any abnormalities in your blood sugar
  • Imaging tests of the brain, such as an MRI or CT scan
  • Electroencephalogram, to test your brain's electrical activity

Medication

Anti-seizure medication is likely to be started if more than one seizure occurs. Medication is typically not started if:

  • A neurological exam is normal
  • The results of a CT scan or MRI are normal
  • A specific trigger of the seizure can be identified
  • The seizure occurred during sleep
  • You do not have a family history of epilepsy

If you have had a seizure, you and your doctor should talk about the benefits and risks of starting anti-seizure medication.