What Is a Laughing or Gelastic Seizure?
Gelastic seizures, also known as laughing seizures or gelastic epilepsy, is a type of epilepsy that’s characterized by laughter. These types of seizures typically start at a young age, and parents usually think that their child has a happy disposition, or is just giggling.
The “laughter” is usually described as “fake-sounding,” or empty sounding, unlike a natural laugh. Some have even said that the laughter caused by a gelastic seizure sounds very unpleasant and alarming.
These types of seizures typically happen out of nowhere. Parents usually notice something’s wrong when their child suddenly laughs without any apparent reason. In some cases, it can even occur during inappropriate situations.
Because they are a type of seizure, children who experience this do not have any control of what’s happening. It’s also possible for children to experience warning signs before the seizure starts, though this isn’t always the case.
Aside from laughter, other symptoms include the following:
- Eyes and head moving from side to side
- Moving the hands or fidgeting
- Not responding to other people around them
- Feeling tired or fatigued after the seizure
A gelastic seizure can last for about 30 seconds up to a few minutes. It’s also possible for children to experience other types of seizures soon after a laughing seizure.