About Seizures

Seizures are abnormal movements or behaviors that come from unusual electrical activity within the brain. Seizures are a common symptom of epilepsy, which affects around 2.5 million people in just the United States alone. About nine percent of Americans have at least one seizure at some point in their lives. However, there are many types of seizures, and not all of them are related to epilepsy.

Non-epileptic seizures show no abnormal electrical activity within the brain. On the surface, though, they still seem like an epileptic seizure. Non-epileptic seizures can arise from many causes. Stress, emotional trauma, high fevers, low blood pressure or substance abuse can all be possible factors.

Seizure Treatment in Austin

A proper diagnosis is needed for choosing the best treatment. The Seton team can determine the seizure’s cause along with the most appropriate treatment. If epilepsy is diagnosed as the cause, our Epilepsy Program, centrally located in Austin, will provide proper epilepsy testing and epilepsy treatment.

A combination of factors is looked at to decide which treatment will be most effective. These include the severity of the seizures, how often they occur and the individual’s age and medical history. Since there are many different levels and types of seizure, treatments can vary. Options range from seizure medication to dietary changes or undergoing surgery. Any of these may be recommended, often in combination with each other. Regardless of the type of treatment, all epilepsy care can be provided in Austin, Texas to ease the burden of travel that people with epilepsy sometimes face.

Classification of Epileptic Seizures

For people who have experienced any event that’s resulted in an alteration of consciousness, EEG monitoring may be needed. This can capture the event to correctly classify the seizures. For harder cases, an in-patient video EEG study can further help search for the cause of the spells. Regardless of the type of seizure, it is essential to seek medical help. The sooner an individual takes action, the sooner he or she can experience freedom from seizures.

Types of Seizures

Many people are familiar with the most severe types of seizures that cause a loss of muscle control and shaking. However, there are many types of seizures, and some may not be easily-detectable when the occur.

There are two main categories of seizures: focal (or partial) seizures and generalized seizures. A focal seizure occurs when there is abnormal electrical activity within one part of the brain. A generalized seizure refers to those that occur due to abnormal electrical activity throughout the brain.

Focal Seizures

Also called partial seizures, these occur due to abnormal activity in one part of the brain. Focal seizures are divided into two main types: those in which consciousness is lost and those in which it isn’t.

A focal seizure in which consciousness is lost is called a focal dyscognitive seizure. These seizures don’t typically involve convulsions, but the person may experience tics, repeated movements or mumbling.

Focal seizures that don’t involve a loss of awareness can take different forms. Autonomic seizures occur only in abdominal organs and can cause stomach pain, uncontrollable bowel movements and alterations in heart rate. Other focal seizures can cause sensory hallucinations, jerky movements or uncalled-for emotions.

Generalized Seizures

These seizures involve abnormal activity throughout the brain and range from mild to severe. There are several types of generalized seizures, some of which are characterized by muscle spasms and jerking, a loss of consciousness or both.

An absence seizure is one in which the affected person loses consciousness for a short period of time, but does not suffer from muscle spasms, jerking or other loss of motor control. These seizures used to be known as petit mal seizures.

A tonic-clonic seizure involves both the loss of consciousness along with convulsions. These seizures used to be called grand mal seizures. Tonic and clonic seizures can also occur individually, but are more commonly experienced together. A clonic seizure involves the loss of bodily control and jerking. Tonic seizures are associated with muscles spasms and loss of consciousness.

Myoclonic seizures also involve abrupt, involuntary muscle jerks in one or more parts of the body. However, they may occur as a single event or in a series and rarely involve the loss of consciousness.