Generalized Seizure (Grand Mal Seizure)

Generalized seizure, also known as generalized tonic-clonic seizure or a grand mal seizure, occurs when there are short bursts of intense electrical energy throughout the whole brain. A person who is about to go through this kind of seizure may first have odd changes in taste, vision, smell, and emotions. He may also experience “aura” which is characterized by visual hallucinations, tingling sensation, and feeling disoriented. This is followed by the stiffening of the muscles and then violent muscle contractions. During the quick random spasms, the individual may lose control of his bladder or bowels, bite his tongue or cheek, have lock jaw, and/or turn blue in the face. He may then lose consciousness and have no memory of what happened after the seizure. Some people feel normal after the event while others experience confusion, drowsiness, headache, and Todd’s paralysis (a temporary weakness on one side of the body).

Generalized seizures typically characterize epilepsy but they may occur due to brain infection, head trauma, brain tumor, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, or certain congenital conditions. Treatments include anticonvulsant medications and surgery.

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