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What Are the Different Types of Seizures?

Not all seizures are epilepsy. In this video, Gayatri Devi, MD, director of New York Memory and Healthy Aging Services discusses the different forms seizures can take, and how symptoms vary depending on the area of the brain that is affected.

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Transcript

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[BLANK_AUDIO] It's very important for us to understand the difference between
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seizures and epilepsy. Anyone of us could have one or two seizures in our life and you may know of someone who for example, has been
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out drinking and maybe they drank a little bit too much and may have had an alcohol withdrawal seizure when they stop drinking,
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or sometimes when we fall and hit our head really hard, you may have a seizure from that. But that doesn't mean you then have epilepsy,
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it just means you have one single isolated event. But if you have multiple seizures, then that means you then have a diagnosis of
00:38
epilepsy and there is a part of your brain that's consistently misfiring. There are very many different kinds of seizures and
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it depends on the part of the brain where the seizure occurs. So if you have a seizure in the part of the brain that's involved
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with vision for example, you could have spots and different kinds of visual hallucinations even.
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If you have a seizure in the part of the brain that deals with movement, then you have what most of us know of as a seizure fit when somebody
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starts to shake and they fall to the ground and they lose consciousness. If you have a seizure in the part of the brain that deals with
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behavior and thinking, then you may have a hallucination, you may smell something funny or you may have behavioral problems. So it
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really depends on the part of the brain that's having difficulty firing properly in terms of the type of seizure that you're going
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to have. And then whether or not the seizure spreads, so sometimes the seizure or the electrical activity abnormality just stays in
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one part of the brain and sometimes it spreads throughout the whole brain and the entire brain starts to fire abnormally. And when
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that happens a seizure that just starts in one area can spread to the whole brain and cause the person to
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fall to the ground and pass out. And that's called a generalized seizure. When it just happens in one part of the brain that's called
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a partial seizure. It makes sense that it is better to have a partial seizure than a generalized seizure and it makes sense that you
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wanna prevent the partial seizure from becoming generalized. It's just like when you have a misfiring in an electrical circuit in
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the house, you wanna make sure that it just stays within that one circuit and doesn't blow out the fuse for the whole house, and
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that's kind of what happens when we pass out because basically all of our brain is firing in a way that's not normal.

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