A grand mal seizure is defined as form of seizure with uncontrollable spasms and jerking of the arms and/or legs. It usually lasts more than a few seconds and includes loss of consciousness or becoming unaware of the entire event.
Is there a link with epilepsy?
Not all individuals who had a seizure has epilepsy. It is important to note that epilepsy is a seizure condition defined by tendency to experience repeated episodes of seizures.
Generally, if there are major indications of seizure activity on the EEG, it indicates a high risk for another seizure. In such cases, anti-seizure medications might be suggested for the prevention of seizures. Nevertheless, some individuals have normal or near normal results on the EEG studies.
What are the causes?
There are various causes why a seizure occurs aside from epilepsy. Using certain drugs, high fever, serious ailments, alcohol or drug overdose or withdrawal can trigger an episode.
Other possible causes of a grand mal seizure include brain injury, head trauma, aneurysms, stroke and brain infections.
Once the brain is damaged, the electrical activity which generally regulates the brain function might be disrupted or turn erratic. As a result, they “fire” when it should not which leads to unnecessary actions or alterations in the consciousness which arises as a seizure. In case the erratic brain activity affects a small segment of the brain, it can arise as a partial seizure. If the entire brain is affected, it is called as a generalized seizure.
Prevention of grand mal seizures
There are various ways to effectively prevent a grand mal seizure. If the individual has a specific trigger such as drugs, alcohol or drugs, controlling the use of these substances is the ideal way to prevent a seizure.
Nevertheless, those who are susceptible to a grand mal seizure might experience one due to fever, sleepiness, infection or even without any trigger. In such cases, anti-seizure drugs are often suggested to prevent or lessen the episodes.