Home Diseases & Conditions What Happens To Your Body During A Seizure

What Happens To Your Body During A Seizure

by pps-DUEditor

Seizures occur due to chemical changes in your body that affect the way your nerve cells interact with one another. This causes a sudden electrical activity inside your brain and can last a few seconds or several minutes. If you or someone you know has epilepsy or seizures, understanding these stages may help you feel better prepared when one happens.


Some people with epilepsy can tell when a seizure is on the way. They may notice some signs a few hours or even days before one starts.

Common symptoms include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Problems staying focused
  • Feeling lightheaded

Stage 1: Aura

This phase happens right before a seizure takes place and is a warning that it is about to happen. The symptoms in this stage come quickly and may only last a few seconds. 

Common symptoms include:

  • Deja vu 
  • Jamais vu
  • Vision problems
  • Odd smells, sounds, or tastes
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Panic
  • Feelings of intense fear

Stage 2: Middle (Ictal)

This stage is what comes to mind when you think of a seizure. During this stage,  intense electrical changes happen in a person’s brain.

Common symptoms include:

  • Loss of awareness 
  • Feeling confused
  • Memory lapse
  • Trouble hearing
  • Odd smells or tastes
  • Hallucinations 
  • Seeing flashing lights
  • Trouble speaking
  • Drooling
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Twitching
  • Repeated movements like lip smacking or chewing
  • Body convulsions
  • Trouble breathing
  • Racing heart

Stage 3: Ending (Postictal)

During the final stage, your brain is trying to get back to normalcy following the seizure and your body begins to relax. Some people start to feel better very quickly. 

Common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Lack of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Trouble walking or writing
  • Thirst
  • Upset stomach
  • Weakness in parts of your body
  • Sore muscles

First Aid For Seizures

Once a seizure ends, many people do not remember having a seizure.

A common myth is that people swallow their tongue when having a seizure, but this is far from the truth. If you see someone who is having a seizure, let the seizure happen. Make sure that they are in a safe environment, but do not touch them unless they are in danger of hurting their head. Most importantly, do not put anything in their mouth.

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