What Are the Symptoms of Myoclonic Seizures?


Quick Answer

Symptoms of myoclonic seizures include sudden jerks that cause both sides of the body to simultaneously experience abnormal movements, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. Myoclonic seizures typically are short in duration, and the patient recovers quickly.

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Full Answer

Myoclonic seizures cause drastic changes in muscle tone, explains John Hopkins Medicine. Unlike atonic seizures, which cause lax muscles, myoclonic seizures result in jerky movements and increased muscle tone. The sudden jolt a patient experiences during a myoclonic seizure is similar to the reaction when a person is jolted by electricity. In most patients, only one myoclonic seizure occurs, but it is possible for patients to experience a series of jolts or seizures, especially if they suffer from a form of epilepsy known as infantile spasms.

Myoclonic seizures typically begin in childhood, but it is possible for a seizure to occur at any age, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. Symptoms often are overlooked because the seizures are brief and may resemble tremors, clumsiness or tics. Physicians can determine whether or not a myoclonic seizure has occurred by evaluating the patient's medical history during a physical exam and through the results of an EEG test. The physician orders additional testing to determine which disorder is causing the seizures.

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