No two seizures are exactly alike. They can take on different forms, and affect people in distinct ways. While not everyone will experience every stage, seizures do have a beginning, middle, and end point. There may also be common symptoms that those who suffer from seizures experience at each stage of a seizure. So, what exactly happens during a seizure?
A seizure is a sudden burst of electrical activity in the brain. This uncontrolled activity may produce a physical convulsion, abnormal behavior, and even loss of consciousness. Some people refer to this electrical outburst in the brain as an ‘electrical storm.’
Before a seizure happens, there may be warning signs. Changes in feelings or sensations, or behavior changes can be a warning sign that a seizure may be approaching. Changes in sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings of déjà vu are also commonly reported. An aura is considered to be the first real symptom of a seizure, and many people may find the aura hard to describe. However, others may have no signs or symptoms of an impending seizure.
During a seizure, many things may happen. Sufferers may lose the ability to swallow, have difficulty speaking, experience twitching or jerking movements in the body, and even experience convulsions. They may lose consciousness, see flashing lights, experience visual hallucinations, and feel out of body sensations. This stage of the seizure is deemed the ictal phase.
As the seizure ends, some will recover immediately, while others may take hours to feel like themselves again. They may be tired, embarrassed, weak, or confused.
If you or your child is suffering from seizures, a research study now enrolling in your local area is exploring potential new treatment options and may be able to help. Study participants who qualify receive evaluations and close monitoring by board-certified physicians and receive compensation for time and travel expenses.