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What Happens During a Seizure?

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Hearing that you may experience unpredictable seizures can be unsettling. But, you are not alone. That’s because about 65 million people worldwide of all ages live with this. With appropriate treatment, epileptic children and adults can lead full and active lives.

Seizures may happen following a head injury, stroke, or as a consequence of specific infections and illnesses, such as meningitis. It is very important to determine what actions should take in the event of its occurrence.

Typically, what happens during a seizure is stereotypic. Occurring in the same manner or similar each time, episodic, and may be unpredictable. In this article, we will look at the different types of seizures and what happens to your body during a seizure. We will also talk about the effect of seizures on the brain, which you should know.

Common Symptoms During a Seizure

Individuals undergoing a seizure may undergo muscle spasms, rapid blinking, collapse, or loss of consciousness. The proper medical diagnosis of the effects of seizures on the brain is essential.

Seizures may result from health conditions originating from the brain, such as epilepsy. Non-epileptic seizures may also occur, which can vary in type. This also affects people with curable or reversible health conditions.

Seizure symptoms depend on the specific type of seizure. They may include changes in consciousness and sensation, emotional and mental changes, and physical symptoms. These categories of symptoms will discuss separately below.

Awareness, Sensory, Emotional, and Thought Changes

During a seizure, a person may experience a variety of changes. These include changes in consciousness, sensory perception, emotions, and thoughts. The severity of these changes depends on the intensity of the seizure. Below are examples of common effects of seizures on the brain:

Awareness changes:

  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Confusion;
  • Staring spells;
  • Inability to respond to external stimuli.

Sensory changes:

  • Altered vision, such as seeing flashing lights, colors, or patterns;
  • Altered hearing, such as hearing voices or buzzing sounds;
  • Altered smell or taste;
  • Numbness or tingling sensations in the body.

Emotional changes:

  • Fear or anxiety;
  • A feeling of detachment from one’s surroundings;
  • Intense feelings of joy, sadness, or anger.

Thought changes:

  • Racing thoughts;
  • Memory lapses or forgetfulness;
  • Difficulty speaking or forming words.

It is important to note that not all seizures with all these symptoms. Besides, some people may experience an aura or warning signs before a seizure. It is necessary to seek medical attention when feeling any of these symptoms. It is then important to discuss treatment options with a healthcare professional.

Physical Changes

Seizures can lead to alterations in consciousness, sensory perception, emotions, thoughts, and physical changes in the body. Below are some examples of typical physical symptoms:

  • Convulsions or shaking movements of the body;
  • Muscle rigidity or stiffness;
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the limbs;
  • Loss of muscle tone or control;
  • Involuntary movements of the eyes;
  • Drooling or frothing at the mouth;
  • Difficulty breathing or holding breath;
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.

What happens during a seizure shows physical symptoms. They can cause anxiety and lead to injury. To ensure the safety of an individual after a seizure, it is important to take precautions. If the person is standing, gently lower them to the ground. Place a soft object under their head while removing any obstacles around them. It is important to see a doctor when necessary. This will be especially important if the seizure lasts for five minutes or more. Also, if you lose consciousness immediately after a seizure, it is worth reporting it to a specialist.

effects of seizures on the brain

What are the Effects of Seizures on the Brain?

Seizures arise in individuals due to abnormal brain activity during the seizure. It can impact brain function, resulting in various effects. Let us explore the types of brain responses that may trigger a seizure:

Neuronal Damage

Seizures can damage neurons. There are responsible for transmitting electrical signals in the brain. Frequent or prolonged seizures can result in neuronal death, leading to cognitive and memory impairment, and other neurological disorders.

Brain Structure Changes

The effects of seizures on the brain can also induce changes in its structure. Prolonged seizures, for instance, can trigger the development of scar tissue in the brain. It can negatively affect brain function and increase the likelihood of future seizures.

Chemical Imbalances

When a seizure occurs, the concentration of certain chemicals in the brain. These include neurotransmitters and hormones. Their number may vary depending on the complexity of the case. These modifications can affect brain function and cause a variety of symptoms. These are mainly changes in mood, behavior, and cognitive functions.

Interference with Normal Brain Function

Seizures can disrupt typical brain function. They also interfere with communication between different areas. As a result, people may experience a variety of symptoms. These include sensory changes, motor complications, and changes in consciousness. These are the most commonly reported symptoms.

Increased Risk of Future Seizures

People with seizure disorders can experience recurrent seizures. Especially if the underlying cause is not identified and addressed. During seizures, it becomes increasingly susceptible to brain activity during seizures.

But with appropriate treatment, many people with seizure disorders can manage their condition. This reduces the frequency and severity of seizures. If seizures occur frequently and persist for an extended period, it is advisable to seek medical attention.

what happens to your body during a seizure

What Happens to Your Body During a Seizure?

A seizure induces certain neurological and physical changes in the human body. Here are examples of what happens during a seizure:

  1. Sudden and uncontrollable movements. Seizures cause uncontrollable body movements. This manifests itself through convulsions and cramps. These movements may later become stronger or even cause injury. This happens if you’re unprotected from a possible fall during a seizure.
  2. Loss of muscle control. Cramps can cause a loss of muscle control. This leads to falls or uncontrolled limb movements.
  3. Changes in breathing and heart rate. During a seizure, breathing and heart rate may become irregular or difficult. Because of this, you may experience a feeling of shortness of breath or even fainting.
  4. Loss of consciousness. Some seizures can cause loss of consciousness. As a result, a person is not aware of his surroundings and cannot respond to stimuli.
  5. Sensory changes. The effects of seizures on the brain can cause changes in sensory perception. These include changes in vision, hearing, or smell, as well as tingling or numbness in the body.
  6. Emotional changes. Seizures can also cause changes in emotions, leading to feelings of fear, anxiety, or confusion.
  7. Memory loss or confusion. After a seizure, there may be a strange feeling during the perception of reality. Consciousness may distort and there may be problems remembering information. 

These manifestations may vary depending on the complexity of the seizure. Besides, you can avoid them with proper treatment. You will then be able to have a healthy life without seizures.

How To Help a Person During a Seizure?

If you witness someone having a seizure, here are some steps you can take to help:

  • Stay calm and try not to panic. 
  • Keep the person safe. 
  • Time of the seizure. 
  • Protect the person’s head. 
  • Loosen tight clothing.
  • Don’t restrain the person.
  • Stay with the person. 
  • Call for medical help if necessary. 

Remember that every person’s seizure is different and needs different levels of support. If you’re unsure what to do, call for medical help.

FAQ

  • What happens physically during a seizure?

There is a sudden disruption in the brain’s normal electrical activity. This disorder can cause a wide range of physical and behavioral symptoms. In turn, they can vary depending on the type of seizure and the affected brain area.

  • What are the 4 stages of a seizure?

Not all seizures have distinct stages. Though, some types of seizures can divide into four stages. These stages are the prodromal stage, aural stage, ictus stage, and postictal stage.

  • Can you talk during a seizure?

A person can talk during some types of seizures, but it depends on the type and severity of the seizure. In some cases, a person can communicate during a seizure. But, his speech may slur or be difficult to understand. In other cases, a person may not be able to speak at all during a seizure, or may only be able to make simple sounds.

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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 prepared.read 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 together.read 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 business.read 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 cookies.read 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 there.read 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 treatment.read 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 finish.read 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 stars.read 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 staff.read 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 treatment.read 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 doctor.read 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 solutions.read 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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