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What Is a Generalized Seizure?

Learn about generalized seizures from Steve Wolf, MD and Patty McGoldrick, NP in this Howcast video.


So you've heard the term generalized seizures, these are the seizures where the whole brain turns on at once and in this category we have abson seizures where you zone out and space out. You have the myoclonic jerk seizures which are just quick little jerks you might or might not have impaired consciousness after it. You can have the big falls to the ground generalized tonic clonic where you can shake jerk and twitch and there's the good old a tonic which means you lose tone and just slump right to the ground, so that's the big category of generalized seizures.

Now, when you're looking at generalized seizures it's also important to find out if they start in one spot and move to the whole brain all at once. I'm thinking of frontal lobe seizures and thinking about how they start out and their partial but they may mimic generalized seizures and that may interfere with our treatment options for them. But the important point of knowing whether you have generalized seizures is to help us a. with diagnosis, deciding medication, deciding prognosis how they're going to do in the future so again we're using this classification to sort of help answer a few questions that everybody needs to know. So questions about how to treat, what the prognosis is, and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.

So generalized seizures are seizures that involve the types that I described, the staring spells, the quick jerking spells, the rapid fall to the ground the atomic seizures, as well as the generalized tonic clonic they involve the whole brain turning on at once and it's important to tell your doctors what symptoms you're feeling so they can try to help classify what type of seizure it is to help decide treatment and diagnosis.

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