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Epilepsy

Conscious during a seizure

02/16/2004

Question:

How uncommon is it to remain conscious during a seizure.

My EEG came back abnormal with activity in the frontal lobe but have not been diagnosed with epilepsy even though I have had 4 incidences of involuntary movement in the last 2 1/2 months.

The closest I came to being unconsious was when I thought I was only shaking, but people who witnessed it said I raised both legs and both arms up and down three time. (I was sitting in a chair) It looked to them as if I was excercising.

My neurologist said being conscious during a seizure is extrememly uncommon so it is unlikely I was having a seizure. He told me to get a second opinion from a epilepsy expert.

My question is how uncommon is it to remain conscious during a seizure.

Answer:

While it is true that most seizures are associated with an alteration of consciousness, not all seizures produce loss of consciousness. It depends on what part of the brain the seizure originates in. Some seizures may not produce total loss of consciousness (like a fainting spell) but may impair responsiveness and may affect memory for the seizure. See the web link below for a description of different seizure types.

Related Resources:

Epilepsy Foundation: Seizures and Syndromes

For more information:

Go to the Epilepsy health topic, where you can:

Response by:

David M Ficker, MD David M Ficker, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati