Seizures and epilepsy

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1 min 47 sec
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The brain communicates by passing electrical signals around the body via nerve cells and as we've mentioned previously, a seizure happens when these electrical signals become disrupted, or too many signals are sent at once. Epilepsy is best known for causing rhythmic convulsions, however, this is only one of the many types of seizure, and is called a Tonic-Clonic Seizure. It is quite common for people with epilepsy to have a low ‘seizure threshold’, meaning they have a naturally low resistance to experiencing seizures.

People with epilepsy often know they are about to have a seizure because they experience what is known as an aura. People experience auras differently and not everyone with epilepsy will have one. Examples of auras include: Feeling anxious or tearful, feeling like you are in a dream, visual disturbances, hallucinations, a feeling of deja vu or a strange sensation in the body.

In focal seizures, only one part of the brain is affected, so people experience their seizures differently. Automatisms are non-purposeful, stereotypical and repetitive behaviours that commonly accompany complex partial, or focal, seizures. Patients will not remember their automatisms, and typically the behaviour is inappropriate for the situation. Verbal automatisms range from simple vocalisation such as moaning to more complex, comprehensible, stereotyped speech. Non-verbal automatisms include lip-smacking, chewing and gulping, through to such things as random limb movements and head rolling.