What are the common symptoms of epilepsy?

Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizures. There are several different types and classifications of seizures. 60% of all seizures are convulsive, while the remaining 40% are non-convulsive

  • Convulsive seizures begin as either generalized (1/3) or focalized (2/3)
  • Generalized seizures affect both hemispheres of the brain
  • There are 6 main types of generalized seizures: tonic-clonic, tonic, clonic, myoclonic, absence, and atonic seizures. All involve loss of consciousness and usually happen without warning.
  • Focalized seizures affect one hemisphere of the brain, and may progress to generalized
  • Often preceded by experiences called auras which can be jerky muscle activity or non conscious repetitive movements.
  • Non-convulsive seizures include absence seizures which present as a decreased level of consciousness and last about 10 seconds.



Reflex seizures are triggered by specific events and happen in only 6% of people with epilepsy. Common triggers include flashing lights and sudden noises.



Postictal period refers to recovery time after the active seizure during which there is often confusion. Usually 3 to 15 minutes before normal level of consciousness returns but can last for hours. Other symptoms include:

  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Psychosis (6-10% of people)
  • Memory loss
  • Localized weakness known as Todd’s paralysis (focal seizures)



Social and psychological well being can be negatively affected by epilepsy in the form of social isolation, stigmatization, or disability



Certain disorders occur more often in people with epilepsy, depending on type:

  • Migraine
  • ADHD (especially children)


epilepsy symptoms


  •  "Epilepsy - National Library of Medicine - PubMed Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
  •  "Epilepsy." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 02 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
  •  "Epilepsy - Symptoms." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.


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