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How Do Seizures Affect the Brain: Main Effects of Seizures

Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Medically reviewed by Chaitanya Bonda
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Medically reviewed by Chaitanya Bonda

Doctors describe convulsions as sudden, uncontrolled bursts of electrical activity in the cerebrum. These abnormal electrical discharges can disrupt normal brain function. This, in turn, leads to temporary changes in cognition, perception, and behavior. Prolonged or frequent spasms can cause damage or loss of neurons. This, in turn, can interfere with the proper functioning of the brain. As a result, a person develops cognitive disorders.

Seizures can also affect memory and learning. They can cause confusion, disorientation, and difficulty concentrating. These disorders can sometimes persist even after the attack is over. Many scientists investigate the question – how do seizures affect the brain? Now it turns out that they can also become long-lasting. This leads to a condition called status epilepticus. This is a condition that needs immediate treatment.

In general, the effect of seizures on the cerebrum is very individual. This often depends on age, health, and the underlying cause of the attacks. Correct treatment is essential. This minimizes their negative impact on the cerebrum.

The Neurological Mechanism of Seizures

The neurological mechanism of seizures is complex. This involves abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Neurons communicate with each other using electrical signals. These signals are carefully regulated to maintain normal cerebrum function. However, during an attack, there is a sudden and excessive surge of electrical activity. This demonstrates the effects of seizures on the brain.

The main components involved in the neurological mechanism of tremor are.

  • Neurons are specialized cells that transmit electrical signals to the cerebrum. They usually work in a controlled manner. But during an attack, groups of neurons can become hyperexcitable. This results in synchronized and excessive firing.
  • Ion channels are protein structures in the cell membrane of neurons. They control the flow of charged particles into and out of the cell. These channels regulate the electrical activity of neurons.
  • Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that enable communication between neurons. Some neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, are excitatory. They contribute to the activation of neurons. Others, such as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), are inhibitory. They reduce the activation of neurons. In diseases, there can be an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. This results in increased arousal and decreased inhibition. Such processes contribute to the effects of seizures on the brain.
  • A seizure often occurs in a specific area of the brain. This is called the focus of the attack. The abnormal electrical activity begins in this area. Then it spreads to other parts of the cerebrum.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings can reveal electrical activity in the brain during tremors. Different types of seizures are associated with different EEG patterns. They help in the diagnosis and classification of convulsions.
  • Certain factors can trigger spasms in susceptible individuals. Among them can be a lack of sleep, stress, hormonal changes, or head injuries.

It is essential to understand that seizures are very heterogeneous conditions. They can manifest in different ways depending on the underlying cause and the areas of the cerebrum involved.

representation of the human brain with blue highlights

Effects of Seizures on the Brain

Convulsions can have both short-term and long-term effects on the brain. These effects vary depending on the type of seizure, its frequency, and the person’s overall health.

Seizures do not always hurt the brain. With proper treatment, this effect will be minimal. However, sometimes seizures cause significant brain damage. This especially applies to permanent attacks. After each episode, the negative effect increases. If a person is not treated, convulsions become more frequent. It becomes clear that the brain also begins to suffer even more.

The consequences can affect a person’s emotional and physical health. Sometimes pain occurs in a certain part of the body due to a disturbance in the brain. Sometimes it can be uncontrollable expressions of emotions. Cognitive abilities may also be impaired.

Let’s explore the short-term and long-term effects on the cerebrum.

Short-Term Seizure Effects

The brain highlights the short-term consequences of convulsions. 

  • Temporary impairment of brain function. A seizure disrupts the brain’s regular electrical activity. This leads to temporary failures in various cerebrum functions. This can cause a wide range of symptoms. These may include muscle twitching, loss of consciousness, and emotional changes.
  • Postictal state. After an attack, many people experience a period of confusion. The postictal state is known. This phase can last from a few minutes to several hours. Cognitive impairment, memory deficits, and fatigue characterize it.
  • Changes in mood and emotions. The effects of seizures on the brain can cause mood swings and emotional disturbances. Among them can be anxiety, fear or irritability. These effects may be influenced by certain areas of the cerebrum involved in tremors.
  • Headache. Some people may experience a headache after the attack, known as a postictal headache. The exact cause of these headaches has yet to be fully understood. Researchers think that it is related to the neurochemical changes during a seizure. 
  • Short-term memory disorders. Short-term memory impairments can occur during and after seizures. Convulsions can damage the hippocampus. This leads to temporary memory problems.

All these effects are short-term and pass over time.

Long-Term Seizure Effects

The brain distinguishes the following among the long-term consequences of seizures. 

  • Cognitive disorders. Prolonged or repeated convulsions can eventually lead to cognitive impairment. Some people may develop memory problems, attention deficits, and learning and problem-solving difficulties.
  • Structural changes. Seizures can lead to structural changes in the cerebrum. Prolonged and repeated tremors can cause damage to brain tissue. This results in changes visible in brain imaging studies.
  • Increased risk of epilepsy. Spasms can increase the risk of developing epilepsy. This is especially possible if there is an underlying cause or predisposition.
  • Psychological consequences. Frequent attacks can have psychological effects. Among them, depression, anxiety, and social difficulties highlight. How do seizures affect the brain? Life problems and the fear of tremors can affect a person’s emotional well-being. And this is bad for her cerebrum.
  • Status epilepticus and brain damage. Status epilepticus is a medical emergency, a prolonged seizure lasting more than five minutes or multiple seizures without regaining consciousness in between. It can lead to brain damage and even be life-threatening if not treated in time.
  • Comorbidities. Long-term seizure effects may go beyond cognitive and emotional changes. Some people with epilepsy may develop comorbidities like sleep disorders, migraines, or other neurological conditions.

Proper diagnosis, treatment, and management of the disease are essential to minimize potential long term seizure effects on the cerebrum and overall quality of life.

Impact of Seizures on Education and Employment

What can seizures do to the brain? Seizures can significantly affect a person’s ability to learn and maintain a job. The impact of the courts on education and employment can vary widely. It depends on the severity and unpredictability of attacks. It also depends on whether the person has control over the attacks. Treatment can help with this. With effective treatment, the impact on the ability to learn and work will be minimal.

In general, the consequences of a seizure on the ability to learn and work can be as follows.

  • Side effects of medical drugs can disrupt concentration, memory, and cognitive abilities.
  • Seizures can lead to increased absenteeism. This will lead to missing classes and staying caught up in learning.
  • The fear of having a seizure at school can cause anxiety in a student.
  • Some students with seizures may need individualized learning plans.
  • People with poorly controlled seizures may also face limitations in finding suitable work.
  • The potential risks of seizures during work hours may concern employers. 
  • Despite legal protection, people with such diseases may face discrimination.
  • Fear of stigma may also prevent some people from disclosing their illness to employers.

Effective control of seizures with appropriate treatment can reduce the impact of seizures.

Bottom Line

As a result, the effects of seizures on the brain are bad. They can prevent the patient from living a whole life. But still, such a disease is not a sentence. Thoughtful and correct treatment will help cope with a seizure’s severe consequences.

For treatment, it is better to choose reliable and proven clinics.

Lone Star Neurology has experts with years of experience. They help patients with neurological problems. The clinic has an experienced staff of neurologists. They are not only professionals but also compassionate people. The nurse practitioners are kind and helpful. Dedicated skilled technicians and office staff actively work to improve patient outcomes.

Lone Star’s mission is to provide the best possible patient care. The clinic focuses on advanced knowledge in neurology. Reach out and improve your health.


Can seizures cause permanent brain damage?

Prolonged or severe seizures can cause permanent brain damage. However, not all attacks result in damage. The degree of potential damage can vary.


Can seizures be hereditary?

Yes, some types of seizures and epilepsy may have a genetic component. This makes them hereditary in some cases.


Is it safe to restrain someone having a seizure?

No, it’s not safe to restrain someone during an attack. It is best to create a safe environment. Eliminate any nearby hazards and offer gentle support.


Can seizures be cured?

Some people can get rid of seizures after appropriate treatment. Not everyone can completely recover from seizures. However, many things can be effectively managed with medication. This helps to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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