3.There Are Two Distinct Types Of Seizures
Within the diagnosis of epilepsy, there’s quite a lot of complexity. There are two “types” of epileptic seizure, partial (or focal) and generalized, and within those two there’s even more diversity. Focal seizures, according to the National Health Service, are so-called because they hit “focal points” in the brain, disabling small areas of it, while generalized seizures hit most or all of the brain matter. Focal seizures can be either simple or complex, involving either a fully-conscious experience or one in which you “black out,” respectively.
It’s generalized seizures that have the most variety, though. They can take the form of absence seizures, where you essentially disconnect from the world around you for up to 15 seconds; myoclonic seizures, which leave you conscious but prompt your body to jerk rapidly; atonic seizures, where you suddenly drop to the floor because all your muscles relax; and the one that fits the public perception of epilepsy, the tonic-clonic seizures. Epilepsy organization Epilepsy Action explains that tonic and clonic reference two different stages in the seizure. “During the tonic phase, you lose consciousness, your body goes stiff, and you fall to the floor. You may cry out,” they say. “During the clonic phase, your limbs jerk, you may lose control of your bladder or bowels, bite your tongue or the inside of your cheek, and clench your teeth or jaw. You might stop breathing, or have difficulty breathing, and could go blue around your mouth.” Some people have tonic phases without clonic ones.