Some symptoms of a seizure include loss of consciousness, convulsions, muscle stiffness and repetitive, jerking motions, states WebMD. In general, seizures are not categorized according to the severity or mildness of the attack. Instead, these episodic fits are classified based on the type of behavior and brain processes affected by the onset of seizures.
Seizures are triggered by abnormal activity in the brain's electrical circuitry. These attacks are broadly divided into two types: generalized and partial. This classification method enables physicians to provide an accurate diagnosis whether a patient suffers from epilepsy or not.
Generalized seizures are further broken down into six sub-categories: grand-mal, absence, myoclonic, clonic, tonic and atonic. Grand-mal seizures, which are the most prevalent form, are also referred to as generalized convulsions or generalized tonic-clonic seizures. These are characterized by unconsciousness followed by a half-minute to a minute of muscle rigidity and then another 30 to 60 seconds of intense jerking. Patients often go into a deep slumber after an attack.
Partial seizures, otherwise known as local or focal seizures, are divided into three types: simple, complex and partial seizure with secondary generalization. Some symptoms of simple partial seizures include memory and emotional disturbances, spasms, muscular rigidity, head-turning and sensory impairment, notes MedicineNet.
Although symptoms differ by seizure type, people with epilepsy are prone to have the same kind of seizure and the same set of symptoms, explains Mayo Clinic. During an episode, epileptics usually experience short-term confusion, lack of responsiveness, uncontrollable twitching of the arms and legs, loss of awareness and psychic manifestations.