Canadian League Against Epilepsy

Types of Seizures
Complex partial seizures

Complex partial seizures

Many patients with complex partial seizures have an aura warning them of their seizure. (An aura is a simple partial seizure). It is often characterized by complicated sensory and motor activities. The patient can act haphazardly, mumble and repeat idiosyncratic gestures known as automatisms. Usually the patient does not recall these automatisms. Consciousness is impaired during a complex partial seizure. Memory alteration can also occur.
Simple partial seizures
Simple partial seizures are characterized by strange and unusual sensory experiences or uncontrollable focal motor activities. For example, the sense of smell or the vision can be altered. Other noticeable characteristics are abrupt movement or agitation, auditory distortion, stomach ache, sudden feeling of fright.Consciousness and memory are not affected by simple partial seizures.
Generalized tonic-clonic seizures
The generalized seizure occurs in two phases. During the tonic phase, the stiffening of the muscles can be observed, the person will lose conciousness and fall and the body stiffens. In the clonic phase, there is agitation and contraction of the limbs. The seizure often ends with another tonic phase. After, the person will slowly regain consciousness and will most likely be confused and disoriented.
Absence seizures
The absence seizure is characterized by complete unconsciousness. The person may appear to be staring into space or dizzy. Absence seizures are not heralded by an aura and are followed by a return to normality after a few seconds. The seizure as such happens with very little activity and can go unnoticed by those around.
Photosensitive seizures
Flashing or flickering lights, usually of high intensity, can provoke photosensitive seizures (stroboscopic lighting effect or video games for example). This equipment often displays a warning indicating it can trigger a photosensitive seizure.

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