Seizure Disorder and Epilepsy

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Tonic-Clonic Seizures

Tonic-Clonic Seizures combine the characteristics of tonic seizures and clonic seizures.

The tonic phase comes first: All the muscles stiffen. Air being forced past the vocal cords causes a cry or groan. The person loses consciousness and falls to the floor. The tongue or cheek may be bitten, so bloody saliva may come from the mouth. The person may turn a bit blue in the face.

After the tonic phase comes the clonic phase: The arms and usually the legs begin to jerk rapidly and rhythmically, bending and relaxing at the elbows, hips, and knees. After a few minutes, the jerking slows and stops. Bladder or bowel control sometimes is lost as the body relaxes. Consciousness returns slowly, and the person may be drowsy, confused, agitated, or depressed.

The typical appearance of a tonic-clonic seizure is usually easy to recognize. The doctor will want a detailed description of the seizures. A QEEG and other tests may help to confirm the diagnosis or suggest a cause.

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