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Types of Seizures: Introduction

There have been reports of over 40 different types of seizures.  Truth be known, medical professionals continue to discover different types of seizures and seizure disorders on a regular basis.  In this post, I will acquaint you with two major categories used to contain the over 40 different types of seizures.

Partial Seizures

Partial seizures occur in just one part of the brain. About 60 percent of people with epilepsy have partial seizures. These seizures are frequently described by the area of the brain in which they originate. For example, someone might be diagnosed with partial frontal lobe seizures.

Generalized Seizures

Generalized seizures are a result of abnormal neuronal activity in many parts of the brain. These seizures may cause loss of consciousness, falls, or massive muscle spasms.

Not all seizures can be easily defined as either partial or generalized. Some people have seizures that begin as partial seizures but then spread to the entire brain. Other people may have both types of seizures but with no clear pattern.

If you’d like more information on the types of seizures, please download our free .PDF ebook,  “Types of Seizures by Description”.

Terrific Tonya Heathco

46 Responses to Types of Seizures: Introduction

  1. I am 35 I have had seizures for 5,7yrs now, I’m self employed, I have no health insurance, when I do have seizures I’m usually down, in bed in pain for 2to4 days after one before I can keep a steady walk,, they are getting more random, two weeks ago I had two back to back pulled a growing muscle most days still in pain miss out on alot work because of, email I live in Lawrence ks need help what do I do,

    • Randy,

      Reaching out for help is the starting point of finding the answers you need. Congratulations on your courage to reach out by sharing some of your journey with our readers.

      What to do when seizures make your body HUURT:

      Hydrate yourself – your brain and body loses alot of water during seizures.
      Use aspirin/ibuprofen when possible for pain-Tylenol has been known to trigger seizures.
      Use heat to heal – Soak your feet in hot water, use a heating pad on sore areas.
      Rest – sleep for about two hours after seizures. Give yourself time to heal.
      Turn to others for support-a good place to start is NSDF Community on Facebook.

      Please understand you are not alone. Find more information, inspiration, and education at Use our resources and begin the healing from the indie out.

      Peace in Healing –

      Tonya Heathco, CEO&Founder
      National Seizure Disorders Foundation

  2. I am 49 yrs old, and was finally diagnosed at 18 yrs of age of a seizure disorder at first based in my left temporal lobe. Over the years and several RX changes, and at my neurologists advice in 2007 had a VNS implant placed. Through a weekend EEG, he found that not only was I having the Grand Mall seizures during the day time hours, but also between 20-30 complex clonic ones when I slept. That is when he urged that I had the implant. But under two different anti convulsants and the VNS implant, I am still having breakthrough Grand Malls, and almost impossible to get to sleep. I am currently taking Keppra XR and just recently went off Zonegran and started on Diazepam. I needless to say had to relinquish my driving privledges a little over two years ago, once again. And am deserperately trying to get disability which they’re fighting me over, due to my being able to hide this over several years. Having been unemployed since 2009, and the state will not give me any assistance since my children are all grown and out of the home, I have no access to the Neurologists any more. I have large spans of lost memory from the past, and short term memory has become a real problem as well. I’m at a loss of what else I can do. Or if there is any avenues of assistance. Could you help me?

    • Something to consider, about two-thirds of people experiencing seizures have no control even with medications and other therapies. My advice, keep moving forward taking positive action until you find Peace. NSDF will help you with this.
      Have you been examined by an epileptologist? This is recommended for seizure survivors in your position. One simple answer for treatment is to find seizure studies in your area. Locate a level four epilepsy center and ask for enrollment in a study. Give this serious thought. Questions? Please let me know.
      In addition, consider becoming a free member of our private seizure support community on Facebook, NSDF Community. In many situations, having the positive support you need will help you gain positive seizure control.

      Feel Peace in this moment -

      Terrific Tonya Heathco
      National Seizure Disorders Foundation

  3. Hi, I’m 13 years old and I believe that I’v been having seizures. Something had happened to me where I had gone unconscious, started shaking, making noises, and my leg was kicking. My doctor said he thought I just passed out but I don’t think having all those symptoms is just passing out. Is this a seizure? And if so, what kind would it be? I don’t think I am epileptic because I do not have a problem with flashing lights or quick changing scenes but I don’t know what else it could be.

    • Tess,

      The diagnosis of Epilepsy is made when a person experiences 2 or more seizures within a year. The seizures are usually obvious while tests are run and a doctor is witnessing the event. There are times a knowledgeable doctor will diagnose a person with epilepsy on the description of the event. According to what you remember, this event was more than passing out. However, it may not have been a true epileptic seizure. Only a Neurologist or Epileptologist can accurately diagnose the specific seizures and type of seizure disorder you may have encountered. My advice to you is to begin to journal these events. In a notebook or journal or diary, write the date and time(morning, noon, night is acceptable) of the event and write the names of anyone with you during the event. Next describe all you can remember and all you were told about what happened. Specify whether you were able to hear, talk, or walk during the event. If possible write the time the episode stopped and if you were confused or tired afterward. Also, write down any altered sense of smell or taste or any feeling you had before the event. What you described sounds to me like either an epileptic gran mal or non-epileptic gran mal. At this point, take action with the journal and have no more worries about this episode. It could have been a one time episode. It could be linked to hormones or genetic. Talk to your family and your doctor about your concerns. Also, if on Facebook, look up NSDF Community under groups and request to join. There you will find more support and acceptance and education. Please continue to keep us updated. You and your family are in the prayers of NSDF.

      Feel Peace in this Moment -

      Tonya Heathco, Founder
      National Seizure Disorders Foundation

  4. I just got saw my neurologist today and since the seizures that I’m dealing with are not epilepsy, she was saying that they are not even seizures. But here’s the thing I have many people who will back me up to say that I flop around like a fish. I lose consciousness, I’ve hit my head so many times, also these things didn’t start until I was put on the medication called gabbapentin. But none of the doctors that I have seen want to look at that. All they say is its all in my head pretty much.

    • Franchesca,
      Many doctors are either not educated enough or not empathetic enough to be straight-forward and explain diagnosis clearly. This is one of many issues NSDF is changing. Have you been seen by an Epileptologist? Many times a neurologist will overlook minor signs on tests that signify rare seizure disorders. Whether epileptic or noon-epileptic, the seizure must be treated. Therapies range due to the diagnosis. I believe you have seizures. Whether they are epileptic or not only can be found in extensive testing. Gabapentin can cause seizures in people already prone to seizures. You could have had something “hidden” in your past, in your family tree, or in your physical brain that encouraged the seizure activity after the gabapentin. Remember, your health and your body is your business. Talk it over with your family and your doctor. If it is your choice to go off the meds to see if the seizures subside, then it is your choice. Be sure and tell the doctor whether they agree or not so it can be put in your records. NSDF does not condone going off meds by yourself without informing doctor.

      Peace -

      Tonya Heathco,Founder
      National Seizure Disorders Foundation

  5. Both my sons have a seizure disorder that was classified by their first doctor as petit-mal seizures. Now none of the doctors are referring to it as that. One even thinks it may be a “tick”. None of the meds they take are helping. They’ve taken Topax, trileptal, Valproic Acid, Levocarnitine. etc. etc. you name it they probably tried it. My sons are now 4 yrs and 3 yrs old. Their seizures only last for a few seconds, their eyes tend to roll up, their bodies stiffen, arms would raise about half way, and they have a hard pulsing-like shake. These episodes happen at least 8 or more times throughout the day. They even seize in their sleep. My sons are development wise is delayed. We worry every day about them be cause we fear for their lives. They’re babies now but what happens when they get older, Society can be very cruel and I fear the “new” challenges they will face. We don’t know what to do any more… no one has any answers for us.

    • I replied at length directly to the email you used to register here. Please connect with me so support can be steady. I am no medical professional but have years of experience. The episodes do sound like seizure activity. Get your boys examined by an epileptologist (neurologist specializing in epilepsy and other seizure disorders). There are many tests that will be able to point to the root of the episodes. Many times only and epileptologist can read the reports correctly. Please let us help you manage your fear while you live with seizures in your home.

      I look forward to hearing from you.You are not alone.

      Peace&Power -

      Terrific Tonya Heathco
      National Seizure Disorders Foundation

  6. I had no idea that there were so many different types of seizures but it sure makes sense once given some thought. I think I was only aware of a couple prior to reading this. These are terrific videos for explaining the fundamentals and I’m sure will help people better understand their seizures. Thank you for educating us.

    • Linnea,

      I’m enjoying educating the masses through National Seizure Disorders Foundation. If ever you or anyone you know wants to read something specific about seizures and seizure disorders, please let me know, I’m always open to new material.

      Thank you for your comment -

      Terrific Tonya Heathco
      National Seizure Disorders Foundation

  7. Hi Tonya,
    I remember seeing you on Edward’s share you dream Friday. This is really great information. I was actually searching the internet a while back looking for seizure information. There seem to be some gray lines as to what is considered seizure or not. Some symptoms are more prevalent than others. On occasion I suffer from what I call fugue states where I totally lose short term memory. It is very frightening but I associate it with stress and just outright overwhelm. I have not had an episode in a few months but when they happen it is very frightening. I just recently started something on my blog called ‘Marketing for Daydreamers’ and I am writing a book on the same subject. While I was doing the research on seizures I read that some children and adults will go into a daydreaming state that is actually a mild form of seizure. Most of the time the children are overlooked and the parents are told that their kids daydream too much. If our brains and bodies work by electrical impulsed I question what is interfering with the impulses. I have been involved with a wellness company since August of 09 that deals with frequency blending and radiation protection from wi-fi and cell phones. I attribute much of my health to their products. I applaud you for starting this blog. It is good information that many need to know but we also need to be careful of the need many people have of being diagnosed with something in order to heal. I do not believe in healing on the physical level. There is something deeper at play. An emotional and thought realm controlled by frequencies and vibration. This is where our healing lies; at the emotional level. Getting there is hard and not to sound too ‘new age’ it may take some people many lives to find the healing they seek. Peace and love to you and thanks for providing many with the information they seek.

    • Nicole,

      Great comment, thank you for sharing. My advice to you about the episodes you experience is first start a journal to record the date and time ( if possible) of each episode and put into words exactly how you feel, how long it lasts, and how you feel immediately afterward ( tired? Headache? Memory loss?) If unable to remember the episode at all, write that down and ask anyone around you what they witnessed. Next, do not delay in getting in touch with a neurologist or epileptologist. Don’t worry over the symptoms until a qualified doctor checks you out. It very well may be from stress or exhaustion. However, if seizure activity, stress and exhaustion are triggers to set off the activity. So, be good to yourself and get checked out. Contact me through email and we’ll discuss this further if needed. You are not alone and you are loved.

      Terrific Tonya

  8. Terrific Tonya, That name suits you perfectly. I was really touched and moved as I read your post and watched the videos. At this moment I am feeling truly grateful. With all sorts of aches and pains and some swelling in toes and fingers, I can get caught up and concerned about these uncomfortable symptoms. But it always amazes me just how many people suffer daily from all sorts of conditions. In our supposedly open society, why do so many people suffer quietly, afraid or unable to share with others? Thank you for providing an invaluable service to not only those with seizures, but their caretakers, loved ones, friends, neighbors, anyone that may come in contact with this and not understand it.

    Since my work with individuals and couples often involves sex therapy, just today I received an email from someone with epilepsy who was concerned that he doesn’t feel “visually aroused” the way other men do? Have you ever heard of a visual impairment affecting one’s sensuality?


    • Erica,

      Thank you for the comment and compliments.

      I would appreciate some time with you to discuss what this patient may be going through. I have experienced this myself and have heard of men with epilepsy that have had the same experience. let me know when you are avaialbe for a ten minute phone chat. Contact me through one of our many connections.
      Be Blessed -

      Terrific Tonya

  9. Tonya, you are doing an excellent job here and information like this that helps make the internet so useful.
    Fortunately I have never suffered from epilepsy although through the years I have known a few people who did.

    Associations like yours are essential places where people can get together to share their experiences of seizures. It will give them such comfort as “healthy” people often do not want to talk to them about it.

    • Thank you Trevor for the quality comment. More than a place to voice our seizure experiences, NSDF is quickly becoming an organization that lends a helping hand to patients and caregivers while eradicating stigma of seizure disorders by educating the general public. Feel free to pass the good news on to friends everywhere. – Terrific Tonya

  10. Thanks for shining a light on this somewhat hidden disease. My friend’s daughter has epilepsy but never wants to talk about it. This helps me understand so much more. Thank you.


    • Debbie, Thank you for the comment. Please let your friend and her daughter know they have a place of support and hope here at National Seizure Disorders Foundation. Pass the link on to them and let them know we have a forum ready for their use.
      For yourself, another article you will find useful: seizure first aid I encourage you to learn more about seizures in order to help NSDF eradicate the stigma of seizures that keeps patients and their caregivers silent. Encourage your friend and her daughter to talk about it. As always, I am here when there is a need.

      Terrific Tonya Heathco

  11. Hello Tonya,

    Thank you so much for your article. It is so important that we get as informed as possible about this condition as few of us really know what it really is.

    I didn’t know it at the time, in fact it’s only after watching your video that I have realized this, but back in the days when I was a teenager, a friend of ours would freeze all of a sudden and stay still for several seconds, and then “come back” to us. We always thought he was just playing and now I am thinking he may very well have had an epileptic episode.

    Once again, thank you for your insight,

    Keep the smiles,


  12. Hmmmm, I wasn’t aware there are that many types of seizures, and those are only the ones accounted for!

    Personally, I can relate to febrile seizures since my son has encountered 3 episodes in his lifetime (right now he is 3 yrs, 9 mos). The thoughts and emotions that were in my mind at the moment I realized that it looked like some type of seizure are undescribable

    If I were to speak generically on my feelings and thoughts I would say that I was super scared that the worse may happen. When you see someone’s face turning a different color than it’s supposed to be it’s one of the scariest things you can ever experience.

    My husband’s sister had febrile seizures up until she turned around 6 yrs old but I’m hoping my son ended his episodes sooner, or right now, rather than later…

    Thanks for allowing us to share our thoughts on seizures Tonya.

    I’m glad I stopped by!

    -Jaclyn Castro

    • Jackie- Always keep reaching out for support, answers, education, etc. NSDF will be here to help you with any seizure disorder related need you or your son may have. Febrile seizures have been known to “disappear” depending on the nature of the seizures. My daughter had a febrile seizure at the age of 9 then her genetic seizure disorder manifested in many types of seizures daily at age 11, grew in severity and number at age 15 and are now on the journey downward in severity. I’m writing this to let you know seizures and seizure disorders differ. The most we can do for ourselves and seizure patients is gain knowledge, take action when needed, and be the best advocate possible. Visit often and feel free to use our forum. We welcome seizure patients and their caregivers. Power & Peace – Terrific Tonya Heathco

  13. I found your post very interesting! Even though I have a relative who has regular seizures because of a head injury as a child, I did not know there were so many types of seizures. Having a seizure can be very scary, and so can witnessing someone having one. It is good to have some generalized knowledge so we won’t be so alarmed, but instead understand a bit about what is happening.

    • Lynn, Thank you for the comment. The only way we( seizure patients and caregivers) will begin to heal is for the general public to accept education in order to eradicate stigma. NSDF is open to bringing education to all general public in order to eradicate stigma and help the general public help seizure patients live a life of peace and safety. When you are ready to take action and work with me to do your part for the seizure community, connect with me. NSDF is open to all forms of support, from monetary to spiritual. Peace& Power – Terrific Tonya

  14. Because I carry an abnormal EEG pattern, due to a vascular malformation in the brain, and because after they poked it I had some seizures I have been formerly seizure category classified before and it’s a handful to say the least. So many types, so many variations, so many unique attributes (and pretty much all of them a pain in the neck LOL) Fortunately I do not have issues with seizures although my frequent severe migraines are plenty enough to keep me busy. Because of my background with them I have a better understanding than many do that are seizure free I suppose.

    • Kimberly, Wow! Thank you for sharing. I posted your comment because it’s important for people ( general public and seizure patients) to know it’s okay to speak out. For yourself, please remain in contact with a qualified neurologist. Vascular malformations have been noted as a cause of seizure disorder. A person will not be classified epileptic until 2 seizures are reported within a year. Interesting thing is, there are so many types of seizures, many go unreported. Migraines are closely related to seizures so take care of yourself. It’s my experience reliving stress by doing what you love can effect neurological disorders in a positive way. I know you love what you do:) Stay in touch and know I am only a connection away should you need support if ever you experience “weird” symptoms. Always with you in Spirit – Terrific Tonya

  15. Hi Tonya,

    This post is some of the best education I have seen in recent years on types of seizures. As an adult foster care provider, I work very closely with people who have various disorders in the range.

    Would it be possible to create some sort of Continuing Education credits system on NSDF so that providers can get CEUs for learning from and participating on the NSFD forum? For many of us, it would be most helpful :)

    David H. Paul
    the Follow Your Bliss guy

    • David – It just keeps getting better. Most seizures begin in the patient either in early childhood or old age ( around 65 or 70). It’s so god of you to learn as much as you can in order to help your friends. You are an honorable man.

      We’ll get together on the CEU idea. I’m open to developing that idea. I know it will benefit all members of NSDF Forum. Now I’ve said “yes” and am allowing God to unfold the “how”.

      Talk later-

      Terrific Tonya

  16. I had no idea there were so many types of seizures. When I was very young my parents had a friend who had epilepsy. I saw him have seizures many times. It was scary to see him go through it. He would yell when it was happening, then afterward he got really bubbly and introduce himself to people he already knew.

    • Melodie, I am familiar with the type of seizure. Used to have those type myself. Temporary euphoria and loss of total memory sets in immediately after this type of seizure. My daughter had the same type and did not know anyone ( not even her father and I ) for hours. So touching, the only familiarity to her during this seizure was her daughters touch. Still makes me teary eyed. Thank you for sharing your experience. When you are ready to know more or help me educate the masses, contact me:) – Terrific Tonya

  17. I started having seizures after my surgery for a brain aneurysm. One type was quite scary, an “absence seizure”, where for about 30 sec. I didn’t know who I was, where I was, etc. Thank goodness those have gone away.
    Another type I’ve found quite comical. I forget the medical term, but I’d be thinking one word, and another totally unrelated word would come out of my mouth! While in a design apt. I asked a client which door knob they wanted on their front door, only the word “nylon” kept coming out of my mouth. My brain knew it was the wrong word, but try hard as I could, “door knob” just wouldn’t come out! It continues to bring on inquisitive looks and big grins! I’ve also noticed it happens the most when I’m overly tired, so I do try to rest my brain a little more than most.

    • Renee,

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Seizures can be both scary and comical. Best to manage seizures with a positive and upbeat attitude which I feel you have.

      This second type of seizure, has it been reported to your doctor? Sounds like they are coming from the language area of the brain. Are you currently on seizure meds? I know the side effects of some can effect the language. I’m on a seizure med that effect my language. So funny, there are times I do intend to say a word and my mouth says something different.

      Revisit National Seizure Disorders Foundation site often. I will be posting on different seizures and seizure disorders soon.

      So glad to here from you,


  18. I really didn’t know that there were different types of Seizures. Thank you for providing valuable information and helping to educating others. The more exposure we can get to this site, the more people it will help.


    • My thoughts exactly Bill. My passion is to reach the nation and eventually the world with information on epilepsy in order to bridge the gap from fear to pace of mind for epileptics and their caregivers while educating the non-affected public to eradicate stigma associated with seizures.

      Thank you for your quality comment,


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