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Seizures (/ˈsiːʒərz/), also known as convulsions or fits, are sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbances in the brain. They can cause changes in behavior, movements, feelings, and levels of consciousness.


The term "seizure" is derived from the Old French word saisir, meaning "to take hold of" or "to attack". It was first used in the medical context in the 14th century.

Types of Seizures

There are several types of seizures, including:

  • Focal seizures: These start in one particular part of the brain and affect the part of the body controlled by that part of the brain.
  • Generalized seizures: These affect all areas of the brain.
  • Absence seizures: These are characterized by a short period of "blanking out" or staring into space.
  • Tonic-clonic seizures: These are what most people think of when they hear the word "seizure". They cause a loss of consciousness, body stiffening and shaking, and sometimes loss of bladder control or biting the tongue.


Seizures can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Epilepsy
  • High fever, which can be associated with an infection such as meningitis
  • Lack of sleep
  • Low blood sodium (hyponatremia)
  • Medications, such as certain pain relievers, antidepressants or smoking cessation therapies
  • Brain tumor, stroke, or traumatic brain injury


Treatment for seizures often involves the use of anti-seizure medications. In some cases, surgery, nerve stimulation, or dietary changes may also be recommended.

See Also

External links


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