Generalized tonic-clonic seizure
Generalized tonic-clonic seizure is 1 type of seizure that involves the entire body. It is also called grand mal seizure. The terms seizure, convulsion, or epilepsy are most often associated with generalized tonic-clonic seizures.
Generalized tonic-clonic seizures may occur in people of any age. They can occur once (single episode). Or, they can occur as part of a repeated, chronic illness (epilepsy). Some seizures are due to psychological problems (psychogenic).
Many people with generalized tonic-clonic seizures have vision, taste, smell, or sensory changes, hallucinations, or dizziness before the seizure. This is called an aura.
The seizures often result in rigid muscles. This is followed by violent muscle contractions and loss of alertness (consciousness). Other symptoms that occur during the seizure may include:
- Biting the cheek or tongue
- Clenched teeth or jaw
- Loss of urine or stool control (incontinence)
- Stopped breathing or difficulty breathing
- Blue skin color
After the seizure, the person may have:
- Drowsiness or sleepiness that lasts for 1 hour or longer (called the post-ictal state)
- Loss of memory (amnesia) about the seizure episode
- Weakness of 1 side of the body for a few minutes to a few hours following seizure (called Todd paralysis)
Exams and Tests
- Generalized tonic-clonic seizure