Epilepsy: Common Signs and Symptoms

Abnormal brain cell activity can lead to a seizure and affect various parts of the body. When someone is displaying signs of a seizure, they may have a disorder called epilepsy. Approximately one in 100 people in the United States experience an unprovoked seizure in their lifetime, according to the Mayo Clinic, and even though a single seizure does not mean the person has epilepsy, the individual may have mild to intense seizures and need treatment for their condition.

Identifying some of the common signs and symptoms of epilepsy can keep the disorder under control, and also improve the person’s quality of life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing the signs and symptoms of epilepsy, you must seek medical help right away. Speak with your family physician about the episode, and schedule a consultation for an examination to determine if you or the individual has epilepsy.

Types of Seizures Associated with Epilepsy

Symptoms of epilepsy vary by individual and the type of seizure. Some people have a simple partial seizure, where they do not lose consciousness but the seizure alters their emotions and senses. Others have a complex partial seizure that causes them to lose awareness for a certain period of time. This type of seizure can also alter the consciousness, and may result in strange behaviors.

When an individual has a generalized seizure that involves all of the brain, they may experience a brief loss of consciousness, collapse suddenly, experience jerking or twitching of their arms and legs, or experience t total loss of consciousness and bladder control.

Common Symptoms of Epilepsy

Each type of seizure has its own set of signs and symptoms, and few people can predict when they are about to have a seizure. Some of the obvious signs of an epileptic fit are stiff or jerking muscles, or falling to the ground. However, many seizures are more difficult to detect.

Some of the most common effects and symptoms of a seizure include:

  • Temporary confusion
  • Complete or partial loss of consciousness
  • Uncontrollable movements of the arms and legs
  • A long staring spell
  • Difficulty talking
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Staring into space
  • Unresponsive to stimuli
  • Partial or complete loss of awareness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Tingling feelings
  • Racing thoughts
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Fear or panic
  • Blacking out

Severe seizures may result in the eyes rolling up, drooling, difficulty talking, convulsions and teeth clenching or grinding. After the seizure, many people experience depression and sadness, confusion, memory loss, fear, confusion and have difficulty holding a conversation. They may also feel as though they are functioning in a “dream-like” state.

If you have been diagnosed with epilepsy and are experiencing recurrent seizures, or you have recently experienced your first seizure, get in touch with your family physician. Your doctor will explain the common signs and symptoms of epilepsy, and prepare a treatment plan that may include medication and counseling to help you manage the disorder.