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Understanding types of seizures

On Behalf of | Feb 6, 2021 | Social Security Disability

Epilepsy affects up to 1 in 26 Americans, many of whom remain undiagnosed according to the Epilepsy Foundation. Because this condition can produce many different types of seizures, some people do not realize that epilepsy causes their symptoms.

Review the common types of seizures if you or a family member has experienced unexplained health issues.

Generalized onset

Scientists categorize seizures by the way the symptoms begin. This category impacts brain cells on both sides of the brain simultaneously. Different types of seizures within the generalized onset category include:

  • Atonic, characterized by weak and limp muscles
  • Tonic-clonic, characterized by tense, rigid muscles and uncontrollable jerking motions
  • Absence, in which the person has an episode of staring or mild twitching without other motor symptoms

Focal onset

These seizures manifest first on just one side of the brain. Sometimes, you might be aware while a seizure is happening, a type called a focal onset aware seizure. These seizures may also cause confusion or impaired awareness, typically known as a focal onset impaired awareness seizure.

Unknown onset

Doctors don’t know much about the onset of this type of seizure. A seizure also falls into this category if no one witnesses or records the symptoms.

Some people who develop epilepsy continue working while others successfully apply for Social Security Disability Insurance because they can no longer perform their job duties.

Seek medical attention if you have had a seizure. The doctor may recommend imaging tests to view your brain. This can provide information about the type of epilepsy you have and inform possible treatments.