Seizures in Children

What Is a Seizure? 

A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance occurring in the brain. There are many different types of seizures. Some seizures may last only seconds while others may last for a few minutes.

Most seizures will stop on their own and do not require immediate medical treatment. With some seizures, breathing may become shallow and you may see some blue discoloration around the mouth (called perioral cyanosis). It is very rare that a child stops breathing or has any heart concerns during a seizure.

Types of Seizures

There are many types of seizures. In general, we classify seizures as “generalized” or “focal” depending on where they originate in the brain and how they spread. Clinically, seizures may or may not result in changes in awareness, movements or abnormal behaviors or feelings.

There are key differences between types of seizures. 

Generalized Seizures

Absence seizures consist of a brief behavioral arrest, or a period of no movement, with or without eye blinking or subtle lip smacking.

Generalized tonic-clonic, or “grand mal,” seizures consist of full body stiffening and shaking with loss of awareness. Eyes may roll back and there may be associated vocalization, drooling and incontinence (losing control of the bowel or bladder).

Focal Seizures

Focal aware seizures can manifest differently depending on where the abnormal electrical activity begins in the brain. An example of this could be a sudden feeling of impending doom, or butterflies in the stomach, followed by lip smacking, eye deviation to one side and rhythmic shaking of one side of the body.

Focal seizure with impaired awareness could manifest very similar to above, but patients may not be able to respond or remember the event afterwards.

How Are Seizures Treated? 

Experts within our Epilepy Center provide treatment to children with seizures and epilepsy. Learn more about our Epilepsy Center.

Related Specialties

Related Programs