Generalised epilepsy is characterised by generalised epileptic seizures (which are different from partial epileptic seizures). The seizures may have several forms and outcomes.
Symptoms of generalised epilepsy
Sensory problems may occur with hallucinations, tingling, and autonomic abnormalities (redness of the face, salivation, urinary incontinence). The eyes are turned upwards.
Tonic-clonic seizure are the best known generalised seizure
The best known of the generalised epileptic seizures is the generalised tonic-clonic seizure, also called "grand mal". This is characterised by a rigid phase which is followed by a shaking phase. A person who suffers a tonic-clonic seizure loses consciousness. His/her muscles become stiff and make uncontrolled movements.
The different generalised seizures
There are other generalised seizures:
- Absences, which affect children in particular. The patient loses contact with the outside world, stops his/her activities for around ten seconds or a few minutes and then starts them again as if nothing had happened.
- Myoclonic seizures involve short muscle contractions. These contractions are accompanied by more or less violent shaking;
- clonic seizures affect children under one year old. These are characterised by repeated spasms ;
- tonic seizure; some muscles become stiff for a few seconds. These include the limb muscles;
- atonic seizures: the patient may fall to the ground suddenly because of the loss of tone.
Generalised epilepsy is one form of epilepsy, together with focal epilepsy. © DR