Types of Seizures

There are more than 40 different types of seizures. Most fall under two main categories:

1. Generalized SeizuresExpand 1. Generalized Seizures Section

Generalized seizures occur when there is widespread seizure activity in the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The most common forms of generalized seizures are:

Some people experience an aura – a partial seizure preceding a generalized seizure – which is often seen as a warning sign. An aura may be emotional (e.g. fear, anxiety), physical (e.g. dizziness, nausea), or sensory (e.g. tingling or crawling sensation on the skin, spots or colours before the eyes, strange tastes or smells).

2. Focal (or partial) seizuresExpand 2. Focal (or partial) seizures Section

Focal (or partial) seizures occur when seizure activity is limited to a part of one brain hemisphere. There is a site, or a focus, in the brain where the seizure begins. The most common forms of focal seizures are:

If you have epilepsy or suspect you had a seizure-like episode, learning the names and terms for your symptoms can help you describe it accurately to others. Health care providers in particular rely on this information to make a correct diagnosis of your condition.

Additional Seizure Types and SyndromesExpand Additional Seizure Types and Syndromes Section

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome
Atonic (Drop) Syndrome

Catamenial Seizures
Clonic Seizures

Epileptic Syndromes and Visually Induced Seizures – an overview of various seizure and syndrome types

Febrile Seizures
Focal (or Partial) Seizures

Gelastic Seizures

Infantile Spasms

Lafora Disease
Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

Musicogenic Seizures
Myoclonic Seizures

Neonatal Seizures
Nocturnal Seizures

Psychogenic (Pseudo) Seizures

Reflex Seizures
Rolandic Epilepsy (Sylvan Seizures)

Secondarily Generalized Seizures
Startle Epilepsy
Status Epilepticus

Tonic Seizures

Visual Reflex Seizures Induced by Complex Stimuli

Withdrawal Seizures

For more information about different epilepsy disorders visit Orphanet