A seizure is characterized by uncontrolled muscle spasms or convulsions, often caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can be isolated events or a recurring condition.
Epileptic seizures are associated with a change in electrical activity. Nonepileptic seizures do not involved such a change. The most common types of seizures are partial, petit mal, and grand mal.
Dignity Health extends compassionate care to treat a wide array of seizures in Arizona, as part of our neurological and emergency services. To learn more, Find a Doctor. If you need emergency care for a seizure, call 9-1-1.
The symptoms of seizure depend on the type. Once a seizure has passed, the person may be fatigued or weak, or have changes in behavior and mood.
Seizure symptoms are as follows:
- Partial seizure symptoms often include very specific symptoms, such as smelling, tasting, or hearing something that isn’t there.
- Petit mal seizure symptoms may only last briefly and can include an episode of staring or unresponsiveness.
- Grand mal seizure symptoms can cause spasms of the entire body and complete loss of consciousness.
You should call 9-1-1 if any of these seizure-related events occur:
- It is a new onset (first-time) seizure.
- The seizure lasts longer than five minutes.
- The person is unconscious.
- The person is injured or has other symptoms, such as trouble breathing.
- Several seizures occur in a short amount of time.
If you need to go to the ER, use our InQuicker™ online tool by selecting your estimated hospital arrival time. Upon arrival and check-in, you will see a doctor who will assess your situation and determine the next appropriate level of care.
The most common causes of seizures include:
- Brain or head injury
- Genetic disorders and brain abnormalities
- Infection of the brain or surrounding tissues
- Brain tumor
- Abnormal blood glucose (s)ugar or electrolytes
- Psychological stress
- Side effects of medication
- Carbon monoxide (o)r other poisoning
- Drug or alcohol abuse or withdrawal
To learn more about the causes of seizures, meet with a skilled neurologist at Dignity Health.
Seizure Treatment & Prevention at Dignity Health
In the event of a seizure, try to protect the person from injury. Most seizures stop on their own, typically within 30 seconds to two minutes.
In a hospital or outpatient care setting at Dignity Health, care for a seizure may start with testing to help the doctor make a diagnosis. The doctor will evaluate symptoms, take a medical history, and perform a neurological exam. An EEG (electroencephalography) or a brain scan may be ordered.
Antiseizure medicine may be used to treat a seizure lasting longer than five minutes or for multiple seizures. For a person with epilepsy, a Dignity Health neurologist will prescribe medications to prevent or reduce the frequency of seizures. For more severe conditions, electrical stimulation or surgery may be needed. Dignity Health offers timely and effective care for all types of seizures in Arizona.