There are four types of epilepsy. Certain signs and symptoms characterize each type.
a. Grand Mal. Grand Mal is the most common type of epilepsy. In this type of epilepsy, the person often experiences an aura (this can consist of certain sounds, fear discomfort) immediately before a seizure. Then the patient loss consciousness and has tonic-clonic convulsions. The seizures generally last from 2 to 5 minutes.
b. Petit Mal. This type of epilepsy is most frequently found in children. Brief periods of blank spells or loss of speech characterizes petit mal. During the seizures, which usually last from 1 to 30 seconds, the person stops what he is doing and after the seizure resumes what he was doing before the seizure. Many persons are not aware that they have had a seizure.
c. Jacksonian (Focal). This type of epilepsy is rare. It is usually associated with an organic lesion of a certain part of the brain (cerebral cortex). Jacksonian epilepsy is characterized by focal or local clonic type convulsions of localized muscle groups (for example, thumb, big toe, and so forth). The seizures normally last from 1-2 minutes.
d. Psychomotor. Psychomotor epilepsy is rare. Psychomotor epilepsy is characterized by periods of abnormal types of behavior (for example, extensive chewing or swallowing). The localized seizures may advance to generalized convulsions with resultant loss of consciousness.
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