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:
- Loss of consciousness;
- Staring spells;
- Inability to respond to external stimuli.
- 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.
- Fear or anxiety;
- A feeling of detachment from one’s surroundings;
- Intense feelings of joy, sadness, or anger.
- 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.
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.
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:
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.
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?
A seizure induces certain neurological and physical changes in the human body. Here are examples of what happens during a seizure:
- 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.
- Loss of muscle control. Cramps can cause a loss of muscle control. This leads to falls or uncontrolled limb movements.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Emotional changes. Seizures can also cause changes in emotions, leading to feelings of fear, anxiety, or confusion.
- 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.
- 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.