Although the origin of a seizure can come from a wide range of sources, its symptomatic features are distinct. Learning to distinguish this critical condition is the first step to treating it, along with a set of lifesaving procedures.
Causes and prevention
Seizures have a number of possible contributing factors. In their 2011 news item, “Focus On: Best Practices for Seizure Management in the Emergency Department,” for the American College of Emergency Physicians, M. Tyson Pillow, M.D., and medical student Nikita Malani expounded on this fact. They detailed how in addition to injury and epilepsy, pre-existing psychological ailments like trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol withdrawal after severe abuse and over-intoxication can all cause a seizure. To improve prevention, computerized tomography (CT) scans and other types of brain imaging are very useful for those who have experienced a first-time seizure in order to diagnose its severity and the potential causes. The experts also explained how, “Treatment and disposition is largely dependent on the history and can be tailored to the individual patient.”
According to an eMedicineHealth.com report by J. Stephen Huff, M.D., and coauthor Mary Huff, R.N., from the University of Virginia, the defining characteristics of a seizure are as follows:
- Due to the involuntary nature of the condition, these convulsions commonly start with the victim emitting some sort of usual cry or sound. Soon after, this may be accompanied by sudden stiffening and jerking of the arms and legs over the course of several seconds
- Although the individual will not be responsive, his or her eyes will be open
- The victim may not appear to breathe properly during the episode. Fortunately, he or she will inhale and exhale enough air to survive its short duration. Also after the seizure ends, the person will naturally breathe deeply for a while in order to compensate for lost oxygen
- Most episodes will only last several minutes
- The victim may also experience a loss of urine during an episode
- If the seizure is generalized to the entire brain, the person may be briefly combative after it ends
Medical reports and databases from the Cleveland Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, Merck Manuals and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke detail the needed steps to address seizing activity as soon as it is identified.
- Call 911 immediately
- The paramount precaution is to prevent choking by loosening any clothing or accessories off the individual’s neck, rolling him or her to the side and keeping the mouth unblocked
- Make sure the person seizing is not held down or restricted, has enough room and is not endangered by any sharp objects on the ground or wherever he or she is
- If the person has a medical history of epileptic behavior, there may be medication available to help soothe the condition
- Stay with the individual until emergency services arrive
By contacting California Dual Diagnosis, those dealing with a seizure are able to find support, especially if they are also experiencing a mental disorder or substance dependency. Live chat with us online or call to find treatment centers in your area that look beyond surface issues and address the underlying condition.