Symptoms of Epilepsy

The signs and symptoms of epilepsy will differ from case to case. With some people, it is just a matter of long spells of staring and loss of focus whereas others could suffer from severe convulsions and loss of consciousness. Depending on the cause of epilepsy and the part of the brain that is affected, symptoms will vary accordingly. The most common symptoms include:

  • Warning signs of seizures in some patients may involve auras. These could include a dreamlike or unreal feeling, a strange taste or smell, and feelings of anxiety or fear.
  • Weakness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Staring into space.
  • Blinking or repetitive movements.
  • Purposeless movements such as repetitive chewing, tapping of fingers or shifting.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Jerking or contraction of body muscles.
Other symptoms specific to different types of seizures are:

Symptoms of Simple Partial Seizures:

  • Changes in sensations of smell, touch, sound etc.
  • A strong feeling of déjà vu or the belief that things have happened before
  • Tingling in the arms and legs
  • Strong and sudden emotions
  • Stiffening of leg, arm or face muscles
  • Twitching in one side of the body

Symptoms of a Complex Partial Seizure:

  • Rubbing hands
  • Smacking lips
  • Moving limbs about
  • Fiddling with objects
  • Chewing or swallowing repetitively
  • Making strange and random noises
  • Inability to respond to anyone else
  • No memory of the event after the seizure is over

Symptoms of Generalized Seizures:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Fluttering of eyes
  • Smacking of lips
  • Staring vacantly
  • Jerking and twitching of parts of the body
  • Symptoms last between a fraction of a second to a few minutes at a time
  • In some cases, there may be complete relaxation of muscles increasing your chance of falling and injuring yourself
  • Other seizures may cause all the muscles to stiffen and also lead to falling over and losing of balance

Frequently asked questions
  1. Danielle A.J.E. Lambrechts, Laura H.P. Wielders, Albert P. Aldenkamp, Fons G.H. Kessels, Reina J.A. de Kinderen, Marian J.M. Majoie, The ketogenic diet as a treatment option in adults with chronic refractory epilepsy: Efficacy and tolerability in clinical practice, Epilepsy & Behavior, Volume 23, Issue 3, March 2012, Pages 310-314, ISSN 1525-5050, 10.1016/j.yebeh.2012.01.002. (
  2. Srishti Nangia, Roberto H. Caraballo, Hoon-Chul Kang, Douglas R. Nordli, Ingrid E. Scheffer, Is the ketogenic diet effective in specific epilepsy syndromes?, Epilepsy Research, Volume 100, Issue 3, July 2012, Pages 252-257, ISSN 0920-1211, 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2012.01.015.