Understanding Seizures in Children: Types, Causes and Treatments

Seizures in children can manifest in various forms 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 children:

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). Children experiencing this type of seizure may exhibit involuntary muscle contractions, changes in breathing, and may bite their tongue or lose control of their bladder or bowel.

2. Absence Seizures

Absence seizures, previously known as petit mal seizures, are typically seen in children. They involve brief episodes of staring, blanking out, or daydreaming, lasting for a few seconds. During an absence seizure, a child may not respond or be aware of their surroundings. These seizures usually begin and end abruptly, and the child resumes normal activities afterward without any recollection of the episode.

3. 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 Motor Seizures: Focal motor seizures involve repetitive movements or twitching of a specific body part, such as jerking of an arm or leg, facial movements, or abnormal posturing.
Focal Sensory Seizures: Focal sensory seizures involve sensory experiences, such as tingling, numbness, or hallucinations affecting one part of the body or one side of the body. The child may report unusual smells, tastes, or visual disturbances during these seizures.

4. Infantile Spasms

Infantile spasms are characterized by brief, sudden, and jerky movements that often occur in clusters. They typically start in infancy, usually between 3 to 8 months of age. Infantile spasms may involve the whole body or specific muscle groups, and they can be accompanied by developmental regression or delays.

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