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Fainting and Shaking Due to Seizures: Why Does It Happen?

Fainting and Shaking Due to Seizures: Why Does It Happen?

Seizures are a condition wherein a patient can experience fainting and shaking. Though, it’s possible for patients to experience other effects that might not be evident at first glance. What exactly happens during a seizure, and what causes the body to react in such a way?

What Happens During a Seizure?

The cells in our brain communicate with one another using electrical impulses. These allow us to use all of our senses, to move, walk, and for our bodies to perform all of the functions that it needs to do.

However, when a person suffers from a seizure, a disturbance caused by irregular electrical impulses occurs in their brain. The disturbance can vary in severity, so the symptoms that people experience can be anywhere from mild to severe.

The effects of seizures also vary depending on which parts of the brain are affected. It can affect only one side of the brain, both sides, or specific lobes or areas of the brain.

Some people can also experience what’s known as an “aura” or warning. This is actually part of the seizure and is a signal that the irregular impulses in the brain will happen.

During this time, the person experiencing the seizure is still aware of what’s going on. This is why they are able to sometimes ask for help or assistance before the seizure happens.

However, it’s also possible for people to suddenly lose consciousness and start having a seizure without any warning. These cases can be more dangerous especially if the person suffers a fall, or is driving and has an accident.

Why Do Seizures Cause Fainting and Shaking?

Fainting and shaking are the two most common symptoms that people associate with seizures.

Shaking happens when the part of the brain responsible for controlling your muscles is affected. As a result, the muscles of the body uncontrollably contract and relax, because the electrical impulses are sending abnormal signals to the muscles. It’s possible for patients to be awake and conscious as this seizure happens. Though, they are unable to control the movements of their body.

People can also faint or lose consciousness during a seizure. This does not necessarily mean that the person having a seizure passes out completely, as it is possible for them to seem awake as it happens. Some even make sounds, laugh, cry, or scream during the seizure, but they won’t remember anything that happened.

This mainly happens because of a disturbance in the frontal lobe of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for memory and emotions, so having an electrical disturbance is likely to cause the loss of consciousness.

Seizures can also trigger other responses in the body. Some people are awake, but experience hallucinations while having a seizure. Others lose consciousness, and their body remains stuck in one position while the seizure happens.

It’s almost impossible to predict what could happen once a person has a seizure since there’s no way of finding out which parts of the brain are going to be affected. So it’s important for people to know what they can do if they see someone having a seizure.

What causes seizures in epileptics – What to watch out for

What You Need to Remember

First aid for seizures is important to prevent injury. Here are some important first-aid tips to remember:

  • Stay with the person until they are awake.
    Most seizures should stop within two minutes. If the convulsions do not resolve during this time or the person does not regain consciousness within 5 minutes after the seizure, seek emergency care immediately.
  • After the seizure, talk to them calmly and explain what happened.
  • It would also be a good idea to check if they are hurt or have injuries.
  • If needed, don’t hesitate to seek medical assistance.
  • Avoid holding the person down, or trying to stop their movements.
  • It’s also a good idea to not put anything inside their mouth, as their teeth or jaw can get injured.

Seizures can be a very alarming sight to see, especially if there are fainting and shaking involved. However, most people recover from seizures, and these usually cause no permanent damage. Whether you or another person experiences a seizure, immediately consult a doctor.

Learn more about Seizure Disorders here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Seizure First Aid | Epilepsy | CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/about/first-aid.htm, Accessed January 14, 2021

What Happens During A Seizure? | Epilepsy Foundation, https://www.epilepsy.com/start-here/about-epilepsy-basics/what-happens-during-seizure, Accessed January 14, 2021

Epilepsy and Seizures | Department of Neurology, https://www.columbianeurology.org/neurology/staywell/epilepsy-and-seizures, Accessed January 14, 2021

Seizures – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seizure/symptoms-causes/, Accessed January 14, 2021

Seizures and Epilepsy: An Overview for Neuroscientists, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4448698/, Accessed January 14, 2021

Helping a Person During a Seizure | PeaceHealth, https://www.peacehealth.org/medical-topics/id/ty7150spec, Accessed January 14, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated May 14
Medically reviewed by Nicole Aliling, M.D.
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