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Seizures are uncontrolled spasms or convulsions, most often due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Seizures associated with a change in electrical activity are called epileptic seizures.
Seizures can be isolated events. Recurrent seizures can be a sign of epilepsy.
If you or someone you know has a seizure, Dignity Health has specialists, including expert neurologists on call 24/7, that can provide diagnosis and the right treatment for you. Call 911 or find a Dignity Health ER near you for advanced emergency care for seizures.
Seek emergency care or call 911 for any type of first-time seizure for proper evaluation and to identify its cause.
You also should seek emergency care for a seizure lasting longer than five minutes, or under these circumstances:
Any condition that damages the brain or stimulates unusual electrical activity can cause seizures. A person who has more than one seizure may have epilepsy.
Possible causes of seizures include:
The most common types of seizures are:
Your emergency doctor at Dignity Health may conduct a series of tests to determine if the seizure is epileptic:
Seizures generally stop on their own, typically within 30 seconds to two minutes. Your emergency department doctor will give antiseizure medicine for a seizure lasting longer than five minutes or for multiple seizures.
For recurrent epileptic seizures, the doctor will treat you for epilepsy, including medications to prevent or reduce the frequency of seizures. Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California offers inpatient monitoring to learn more about your specific case and offer personalized care. You can also ask us about our clinical research concerning seizures.