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What is it? A seizure (c-zure) is also called a convulsion (kun-vull-shun). It is a sudden attack of brain activity that causes you to lose control of your actions. You may have jerking of your face, arms, or legs. There are many different kinds of seizures. Seizures may last seconds or minutes and can happen to people of any age.

Causes: The most common cause of seizures is idiopathic (ih-d-o-path-ik) epilepsy (eh-puh-lep-c). This means that the cause of the epilepsy is not known. It is a brain disease that may cause you to have more than one seizure. Other causes may include head injury, withdrawal from alcohol or other drugs, a high fever, a brain tumor, or an infection. Sometimes it is not known what causes seizures.

Signs and Symptoms: You may have a warning that you are going to have a seizure. When a seizure starts, you may pass out. You may not be aware that your face or body is jerking. You may urinate or have a BM without knowing it. Or you may throw up. After the seizure, you may feel irritable, confused, or sleepy.

Care: You may need medicine to keep from having more seizures. Teach the people around you what to do if you have a seizure.

  • Wear a medical ID bracelet that will tell others that you have seizures.
  • You can call or write the following organization for more information. American Epilepsy Society, 342 North Main Street, West Hartford, Connecticut 06117-2507, 1 (860) 586-7505,

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about seizures and how they can be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care will be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Learn more about Seizures

Associated drugs

Mayo Clinic Reference Guides (External)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.