Understanding Types of Seizures in Adults: Symptoms and Treatment

Seizures in adults can manifest in different ways and are typically classified based on their characteristics and the areas of the brain affected. Here are some common types of seizures that can occur in adults:

1. Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures

Generalized tonic-clonic seizures, previously known as grand mal seizures, are the most well-known and recognizable seizure type. They involve a loss of consciousness, stiffening of the body (tonic phase), followed by rhythmic jerking movements (clonic phase). During a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, a person may experience muscle contractions, changes in breathing, loss of bladder or bowel control, and may bite their tongue.

2. Focal Seizures

Focal seizures, also called partial seizures, occur when abnormal electrical activity is limited to one area of the brain. These seizures can be further classified into two types:

Focal Onset Aware Seizures: Focal onset aware seizures, previously known as simple partial seizures, involve abnormal sensations, emotions, or movements. The person remains conscious and aware during the seizure and may experience changes in sensory perception, emotions, or motor symptoms.

Focal Onset Impaired Awareness Seizures: Focal onset impaired awareness seizures, previously known as complex partial seizures, involve a loss of consciousness or altered awareness. The person may exhibit repetitive behaviors, movements, or automatism (involuntary actions) during the seizure. They may appear confused or disoriented after the seizure.

3. Absence Seizures

Absence seizures, previously known as petit mal seizures, are characterized by brief episodes of staring, blanking out, or daydreaming. They typically last a few seconds and involve a brief loss of awareness. Absence seizures are more commonly seen in children but can also occur in adults.

4. Myoclonic Seizures

Myoclonic seizures involve sudden and brief jerking movements that can affect a specific body part or the entire body. These seizures can be symmetrical or asymmetrical and may be triggered by various factors, such as sleep deprivation or specific stimuli.

5. Atonic Seizures

Atonic seizures, also known as drop attacks, cause a sudden loss of muscle tone, leading to a limp or floppy posture. These seizures can result in falls or drops, often without warning.

It’s important to note that these are just a few examples of seizure types in adults, and there are other less common seizure types as well. If you or someone you know is experiencing seizures, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional or a neurologist for an accurate diagnosis, appropriate management, and guidance on seizure management and treatment options.