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Generalized tonic-clonic seizure

  • Alternative Names

    Seizure - tonic-clonic; Seizure - grand mal; Grand mal seizure; Seizure - generalized


    Many patients 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 usually involve muscle rigidity, 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:

    • Normal breathing
    • Sleepiness that lasts for 1 hour or longer
    • Loss of memory (amnesia) regarding events surrounding the seizure episode
    • Headache
    • Drowsiness
    • Confusion
    • Weakness of one side of the body for a few minutes to a few hours following seizure (called Todd's paralysis)

    For more information about diagnosis and treatment, see:

    • Epilepsy
    • Seizures