Community Forum

Is it possible to have seizures while remaining conscious? PLS HELP!!!

I've had these "seizure-like" episodes for 5 months now.  The first one I had started while I was sitting at my desk at work and I had an aura for about an hour where I got this zig-zag line in front of my eyes and I couldn't really see straight.  I also couldn't think straight or speak straight.  And when I tried to read something, I couldn't even sound out a simple word.  Then when my sight started to return, my legs and body got very rigid and I could barely move, so much so that I could barely stand up or reach my arm out to get the phone.  My body started tremoring for about 15 minutes.  I was rushed to the hospital, but remained conscious through the whole thing.  The paramedics and everyone else around me never said seizure.  They all thought maybe it was hypoglycemia, or something like that.  Well, 5 months later (and many neurological tests later), I'm still having episodes.  (I've had about 24)  They aren't always the same.  But for the most part, now, I will be sitting and all of the sudden I won't be able to hold my head up anymore (or I'll get a feeling in the pit of my stomach), and then my hands will get all fidgety.  This will escalate, until my foot kicks out, or my hand and eventually it's my whole upper and lower torso and head tremoring from anywhere from 5-30 minutes.  It will be hard to speak and my breathing might get labored.  I'm unable to move my own body at that point, so wherever I am having the episode is where I will be until the episode over, unless someone physically moves me.  Sometimes it slows down and stops.  Sometimes it stops abruptly.  I am always totally exhausted afterward and have lots of trouble with my legs afterward, sometimes for an hour, sometimes for days.  They get very weak and heavy feeling and sometimes will give out when I walk.They seem to come in clusters, like I will have 4-7 episodes within a 2-3 week period and then I won't have any for 7-10 days.  During the 7-10 days, I will feel good.  During the 2-3 week period, I will feel very lethargic and weak most of the time.I've had an MRI, MRA, MRV, EEG, 24 hr. EEG, CT scan of the brain, EMG, ECG, EKG, blood work... plus probably some more that I'm forgetting about that have all come back normal.  One doctor even suggested pseudoseizures during an 8 day hospital stay, after he witnessed one of my episodes.  This was because I responded to him (remained conscious) during my "seizure" and he thought I was making it up, I guess.  I have two young children at home who have witnessed these episodes--I would not do that to them!   I was screened by a psychologist who does not believe they are pseudoseizures.So my question is, could they still be seizures, even though I am conscious?  Or have any of you have similar episodes while remaining conscious and figured out what these episodes are?  I'm sick of the "pseudoseizure" label I've been getting.  I know something is physically wrong with me and I am trying to get to the bottom of it, but need some help from someone besides my doctors.  Thanks.Theresa


I thought to add that my neuro suggested they might be either partial complex seizures towards the beginning before ruling it out with testing.   Then recently he said something like I have "tonic-clonic" tendencies with possible autonomic neuropathy.  Like I have any idea what that means.Also, he did put me on Depakote from day one for two and a half months until I begged him to put me on something else because I gained 20+ lbs and lost a lot of hair, and now I am on Topamax 100 mg. twice a day.  He says this is to control the tremors that I have-not for actual seizures, and also to prevent migraines, which I also suffer from.Please write back. 

I remain concious when I have my seizures.  I get a tingling in my body like other people have described here.  I can hear people talk to me and can try to follow Directions, but its hard for me to Respond to them. I am like in slow motion, they say something and when the Seizure is over, I respond.   Leah

Did the seizure activity show up on your EEG?Do you know what type of seizure these are?  I learned about simple partial seizures yesterday, which I never heard of before, where you can remain conscious and have a seizure.  I am wondering why my doctors never looked into or even mentioned these to me.Thanks for responding.Theresa

i know that u are stressed and worried. i am in the same boat. i have seiz like urs up until the tremors, but i also have a brain tingle. anyway there are so many people that will answer ur post. every one is so nice and VERY knowledgable. on tonic and complex seiz,,, if u read some other posts, (cannot remember whichone) i asked the same question in a post, and someone answered and knew there stuff. it helped me so much, so find that.  and the med (only b/c i am a student rn) topamax is a med for partial seiz in children 2-16yrs old, tonic seiz in lennox-gastaut syndrome.  it is also used for bipolar disorder, cluster headache, infantile spasms. it action is to prevent seiz spread.  of course do not take any herbs or drink alcohol. i hope that i helped some. 

That's interesting about Topamax.  My neuro said I'm basically taking it to control the tremors and to prevent migraines (and I think the weight loss side effect was one he wished for me too-unfortunately that one isn't helping me).  He believes I have something called Orthostatic tremors.  I have low blood pressure and I have orthostatic hypotension (they believe-because I failed a tilt table test) where my blood pressure will drop if I stand too long and the blood will pool in my legs and deprive my brain of the oxygen it needs, leaving me weak, leading to almost a faint.  He believes that all my symptoms are due to this.  Except that, I tell him my episodes occur when I am sitting, standing, laying down, and also, I check my blood pressure and my blood pressure is not low at that time(!), so how can that be right???  He never answers me.  It seemed that when I first started taking the Topamax (50 mg twice a day), the episodes would still occur the same way, then he increased my dosage to 100 mg twice a day and the tremors pretty much stopped for about a month (but not the episodes).  Now they are coming back again during the episodes.I'm trying to find an epilepsy center in a hospital in my area to contact today.  I'm not even giving my neuro a second chance at this point.  5 months is long enough to live like this without knowing what is the real deal.Thanks for your help.  Sure doesn't sound like this med is the right one for me.  If you could let me know where your previous post is, I would love to read it.  I'll try to find it if I can though.Theresa

beautimouslove, I found your post.  Thanks for letting me know about it-it helped a lot.  I'm so sorry about what you're going through.  I hope you can find some answers today and get some financial help with the medical bills too.Theresa

I know this post is old....did you ever find out what was wrong with you

until recently i've always had nothing but grand mal seizures .. for the past month or so i've been experiencing simple partial seizure, i'm awake and aware .. and a little spooked too

here's how my last one progressed ...

1.) aura and nausea

2.) blurred vision

3.) a pit in my stomach

4.) my legs felt like spaghetti, then fell out from underneath me and i fell to the floor

other then my legs falling out from underneath me, these are some typical onset symptoms for a grand mal, i had no idea what  i was in for

here are ( some of ) the meds i've tried ..

including but not limited to :

* tegretol

* depakote

* dilantin

* phenobarbital

* felbatol

* keppra

* topamax

* lyrica

and i'm currently on lamictal .. i like the lamictal best, it has lesser side effects then the rest

i'm not sure what brought these seizures on, they're " new " to me .. what i DO know is, i have an inner ear infection ( not middle, inner ) for over a month and i have yet to find a doc who believes that's the problem ..  it's triggering my seizures, any stress on the body triggers them .. but why the simple partials and not grand mal ? i wish i knew 


At the beginning of my epilepsy history, doctor just diagnosed the seizures encountered by me as "psychology problem", i am over pressured in my study. Because of doubt of that diagnosed, i went for EEG in a specialist hospital. yap, no seizure activity show up in my EEG test even though doc triggered my seizures attack by force using "special lightning".i was subscribed with psychotic medicines because they believed that i am not one of those epileptic victims. Sure, my seizure was not under control by taken those "crazy medicine" instead worsen my condition. Abnormal brain wave was found in my second time EEG test after few years. Then i only started taken my epileptic medicine under supervision of doctor about 3 years ago. Recently i learned about got 20% probability epilepsy victims got seizure attacks with normal brain wave activity in EEG test. Some of them no seizure attacks with abnormal brain wave detected in EEG.

I am remain concious when i get seizure attacks from the beginning of my epilepsy history. Before my seizure attacks, i am like in slow motion,somehow cant speak, no respond to others, even cant walk. people thought that i am pretending but i have no control on those weird symptoms.i feel tired and fall to sleep after the attack.

I have seizures where I remain conscious during the whole time.  I am aware that things are happening, I just can't respond like i want to.    I understand how you feel.   Mine are complex partial according to the doctor.  I also have the feeling of my legs getting so weak that they give out form under me, but my whole body feels weak.  I don't know if this is due to what I am eating, my meds, or if they are episodes as well.  but i do empathize with you. 

This happened to me, about six days ago. i went in for a veeg, and I started having seizures about 40 hours after my last medication dose, but this time, I was consious through out the entire seizure! I had about 15-20 consious seizures during the five day VEEG. My neuro said I was having non epileptic seizures. He says I have areas of Epilepsy on my VEEG, but the seizures I were having, were not epileptic seizures. the weird this is that Ive never had these kind of seizures before the VEEG. I had 7 more when I was released and sent home after the VEEG. Ive been taking Keppra XR and Cabrotral for over 10 years now, and other medications prior to those since the age of 18 months when I was diagnosted with Epilepsy.


My dr made a appointment with a psych dr in about four days for me to see. He thinks these are stress related. but I dont think they are.

That's what they thought mine were while I was in the hospital in July, but when I looked it up, it doesn't make any sense to me.  You do lose consciousness in complex partial's from what I've read and you don't remember what happened.  I've never had that.  Like you, I also have the whole body weakness.I had another episode (seizure?) last night.  This one started with a jolt, then another about 10 seconds later.  This time I started smacking my leg with my hand.  My husband saw me doing it and thought I was trying to stop the seizure or thought I was getting upset, but I told him, I'm not controlling this, this is happening to me.  I've had that before, where I will smack myself in the forehead and yell out stop while it is happening, but it's just part of the seizure.  My mother actually laughed about it one time after she witnessed it.  She thought it was funny.  Not very funny to me!I hate this.Thanks for writing to me.

I do not know if you finally got an answer I know this is a very old post however.......


I am most likelly a different sitaution then most and I want to state this because I am a head injury patient however I have been alert when I have had seizures I been having seizures since my first head injury and I have sustained Multiple Head inuries in my life time since I was 6 years of Age I am now 35 this Dec 2008.....


I have had siezures where I was in the present of Doctors, Nurses, Friends, Family members, Teachers, Ect.... I have them where I have heard people and where I haven't heard people.... Where I cannot talk after for a good 20 to 30 minutes after to where I can talk right after..... I have incidents where I been on medications where I sound like a idiots because I cannot talk.... I am going through this right now....


I have been able to do mild things for the doctors right after my seizure but I ended up with a migraine right after my seizure...... or riging in my ears or a consitant pounding in my head or thrubing in my eyes and my eyes hurt so bad I can not open then and it hurts my eyes to open them.


I have had Nuerologist tell me I am a lieing sack of crap and I need to see a psychologist.... Well I already see one of them because I have frontal lobe brain damage which I now have major depression and a organic mood disorder due to the frontal lobe brain damage which affects my behaiors personailty and emotions


However I am not faking this crap this is actually happen to me and that is what really annoys me with these doctors is that they just pawn it off on my mental condition because they cannot find a reason for it so because they cannot find a reason for it they blame it on my mental problems..... It drives me absolutly nuts.... So I get to live with this problem I get to live with what ever goes on with me and I get to go through life in hell just because these doctors do not want to try to keep searching for a reason?????


Why do we have doctors if they are not going to try to find a cure for what is going on for our medical problems????? That is my question......



I hope you found out what is wrong with you.....




This is an old post and I hope someone out there still responds.  I too am having "spells".  But I become paralyzed for about 5 hours after the use of albuterol for which I need for asthma due an allergy to mold.  Not every time but enough I'm not allowed to use albuterol anymore.  Now I've had a catscan with contrast to check out my lungs and I became paralyzed from the contrast dye.

These "spells" last for about 5 hours... I can not hold my head up, move any of my limbs and sometimes my tongue is paralyzed too and sometimes it is just my jaw... the head is the only thing that isn't consistant.  I feel everything... those IV's hurt. 

I've been on deprakote, topamax and now lamictal.  Each drug causes me to become "stupid" where I have difficulty talking... making sense... like I've had a stroke.

The first few spells the hospital took great care of me... now I'm put in a room to wait out the paralysis... I've always had family with me except for the last time... it is very scary... I was afraid they were going to stick me into a closet somewhere when I had the reaction to the contrast dye... they just didn't get it that I couldn't move... they didn't support my neck and now I have neck pain... geeezzzzzzzzzz.

anyway... anyone have these symptoms??  It is either a seizure, complex migraine, and yes I've been told I'm psycho and doing it unconciously to myself.... but I've been to Hopkins and they did a muscle biopsy to check out mitochondrial disease and it showed nothing... I'm stuck in limbo... afraid of what next will cause the next "spell"... take care all who read this.... good luck... Franie

I am so happy to hear that other people have whole body weakness episodes and remain conscious! I have the same problem. I am weak all the time now to one degree or another. My weakness has caused esotropia (crossed-eyes) and diminished reflexes, but still doctors won't admit that my symptoms are not all psychological.

I went into the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit for about 4 days but didn't have any significant episodes. Very frustrating! I did have some symptoms but I didn't report them because I knew that mild symptoms wouldn't show up on the EEG and I didn't want to get dismissed as a neurotic.

I've officially given up on doctors. Half of them are useless and the other half are useless jerks. I've decided to take B-Complex vitamins because I've also had megaloblastic anemia. Megaloblastic anemia and neurological symptoms such as numbness, weakness, and seizures is caused by B-vitamin deficiency. I sure hope it helps me!

Sometimes I can't move my left arm for a few minutes at a time. There is something called Todd's Paralysis that causes weakness and paralysis after seizures. Also, sometimes weakness can be the result of the seizure itself.

I've decided not to beg my doctors for seizure meds because I've never lost consciousness, although it has certainly been altered, and I've heard so many terrible stories about seizure medications on this board. I also can't be 100% sure that I'm having seizures.

If I ever loose consciousness then I'll go back to my nice epilepsy doctor and beg.

Here is more info on Todd's paralysis. Todd's Paralysis Information Page

It is reassuring to see some answers here that echo my own experiences. I have dodged the pseudoseizure/psychogenic seizure question for more than 11 years. It wears one down. When first I started having "events" thye were of unknown origin and without a name. Differential diagnosis included: Complicated migraines, seizures, MS, Lupus, and of course everyone's favorite, hysteria.

It was really frustrating to go through that process. The first time I had an event of unkown origin, I was hospitalized and the diagnosis of exclusion was complicated migraines. I was glad to have a name for it, but still was distressed to have had doctors question my mental health. (And yes, I know that it doesn't mean a person is crazy, per se, if he/she has this type of conversion disorder but it sure feels like your mental/emotional stability is in question.)

For the next eight years I struggled with complicated migraines. Mostly, it seemed like I'd have really bad migraines more than once a month, with a few episodes of more complicated migraines. I tried to take whatever medication was prescribed, eat correctly, sleep regularly and so on. But over time, the headaches got worse, not better. More frequent, insistant and debilitating. Finally, I ended up hospitalized 4 times in two years with severe headahces accompanied with shaking. Throughout all this time, I'd had the random EEGs, CAT Scans, MRIs, and so on, also I'd had numerous neuropsych and psychological evaluations. The result over and over again was that I did not have a profile consistant with a person who develops psychogenic phenomenon. Didn't stop it from being a question raised though.

I was given one random EEG back in Feb. '06 which showed an abnormal finding. I wasn't hopeful at that point that anything would come of it. I'd had others over the years that were later classified as "infarct," meaning useless information obscuring the picture. But the neurologist I was seeing by then sent me for a 24hour EEG, then a 3 day video monitoring EEG. The result was a diagnosis of nocturnal seizures, and "definitive right sided electrical discharge" which I believe she labeled as complex partial seizures.

You would imagine that this would make life better, and to some extent that is true, as I have finally been given two medications, first Keppra then also Lamictal. Yet still I've had breatkhrough seizures, and the diagnosis of pseudoseizure follows me. I have to the best I can tell several versions of seizure. I have had a diagnosis of ADHD since age 3, and I have long had a habit of "staring off into space" When I was a kid. I was literally paying more attention to my own thoughts then to what is going on around me. In recent years, it was brought to my attention that sometimes I just seem to "go away somewhere." This would be different from my deliberate looking out of the window and choosing to engage my thoughts outside of the childhood classroom. It's usually brought to my attention by someone asking me "Hello? Are you listening? Where did you go justnow?" and that's the first I know I'm doing it. I have begun to suspect this may actually be an abscence seizure, and it often shows itself preceeding more obvious "seizure like" events.
The nocturnal seizures were found via EEG while I thought I was sleeping. I would have no earthly idea otherwise that I have them. I noticed that I woke up stiff in the morning, creaky like an old lady in my bones. I noticed that I was fuzzy headed when I woke up and that I felt like I hadn't really gotten "any good sleep" I had no idea this was all related to seizing in my sleep. How on earth could I? I just thought I was a bad sleeper. I've always had some insomnia, and tossed and turned while sleeping. I plied myself with coffee during the day and talked about getting a better mattress. Those chronic headaches and fatigue issues I had during the days, turned out to be "post-ictal" or at least that's the current theory as they went away with time.

I do still carry a diagnosis of complex migraines, but some of the things that went with that, like the type of aura, the transient boughts of left-sided heaviness, seem to be related in part to the seizure diagnosis.

As to the other type of seizure, here is where it get's difficult. I have a kind of seizure, where I have not fallen down, but felt the need to sit down, lie down, or similar. I often wander around before hand, feeling tired, draggy, and inexplicably less connected or capable of speech. I get word searching or difficulty with saying the words I mean in the hours preceeding this issue. When the event hits, I flail my arms rythmically and shake my head, followed by a stiffening of my muscles, then a sense of fatigue. I am able to hear what's going on around me, but I can't really speak back and sometimes it takes me a few minutes afterward before I can get out words fully. Early attempts will produce sounds like "tuh-tuh-tuh." I used to think I was fully aware of the entire experience, and missed nothing, only to be told later about things I didn't remember, take in or perhaps understand at the time. (Who knows which.) I have often experienced left-sided heaviness, fatigue, and sometimes a curling of my fingers into my hand, with hand to arm, and arm towards chest. This does all go away, after some period of time.

Problem is, it can happen that way several in a row, or recurring more than once or twice a quarter. So it really messes up my quality of life. I have also struggled with athe ongoing fight between autonomy and compliance. i want to go out and have a cocktail once in a while. (Like once a month maybe?) I want to do more than go to work and come home during the week, without becoming run down. And to see my friends on Saturday nights. I'm not looking to party, but I want to be able to stay up late sometimes. I think my wishes are modest, and yet I have found that failure to keep enough sleep, nutrition, and stress in balance, gets me sick every single time.

When first I only had a diagnosis of migraines, I had doctors that gave me heavy duty pain meds. I took them because I couldn't make the migraines go away, but I had to go to work, and keep food on the table. So I did what I could and dulled the pain, threw up when I needed to and kept going. It was many years later that I learned that my use of narcotics was setting me up for "rebound headaches" and could "lower the seizure threshold." So in addition to the question of "psychogenic seizures" I also get to fight the prejudice of whether I was abusing drugs. I contend it wasn't so, as I never took drugs to get high, or escape. I took them, as prescribed by a physician, to treat intractable pain. But that argument goes nowhere.

Recently I ended up in the ER, with a continued set of seizure like events happening for more than 30 minutes that night. I got my records, so I can follow up and found those same old words, pseudoseizure in them. I am so terribly disappointed, again. I thought things would be different now that there was documented proof of seizures on EEGs. Where do I go now?


mine are similiar to yours in that if I keep walking I won't be paralyzed... I never lose conciousness, am aware of everything... usually I'm very calm feeling... almost euphoric.  I feel the IV insertion... it hurts.  Once I have one they come more often for the next few weeks, months sometimes.  I have finally had to take a disability retirement from work (they didn't like it when I had one at work).

Mine are usually started with the use of albuterol for my asthma (this is a allergy from mold I've developed after working in a school that had a "mold bloom" in the basement... Steven King style).  But now I've had one from the constrast dye in a catscan.

I hope you can get this reply... good luck, Franie

What a long history of events and so very interesting. My adult daughter has nocturnal seizures. I sleep with 

one eye open, so I do not miss a seizure. This has been going on for as many years as i can remember. Unfortunately, I am not getting much sympathy from  medical proffessionals. Latterly my daughter has developed a new pattern, where she is concious, but cannot move and the whole body is in a spasm to such an extent, that I cannot administer the rectal diazepam.Such episode can last up to 40minutes. She recovers temporarily, opens her eyes looks frightened and in a shock. Falls asleep and after about 20minutes goes into clonic-tonic seizure lasting 1.5-2minutes.It is the most frightening experience for me (her mum) and her.(mydaughter) My daughter is on a coctail of drugs which I administer daily precisely on the same time. I feel alone in this situation there is not much help at all. Our appoitments are once a year and I do not come out from them any wiser just disilusioned. It is a frightful existence. The seizures are worse around her menstrual cycle. Has anyone tried contraceptive pills for the purpose of stopping the ovulation and the periods?  and tried to influence the hormonal changes which are happening around the menstual cycle. Please let me know if anyone has experienced any positive results regarding the epilepsy by taking contraceptive pills. Thank you


Wow. That was kind of creepy reading the description of your 2 seizures where you are smacking your leg in one and hitting your head during another. I've had almost the exact same thing. I remain aware during my partial seizures (I've giving up caring to describe them as simple or complex - neurologist says complex...whatever!).

During one seizure last year, remember hitting my leg repeatedly for a few minute while moaning "kakakakakakkakak" over again, stuck on trying to say a word. During another one, I had sat down on my fire escape, leaned against the bars and started banging the back of my head against the bars maybe 20 times, saying "ouch ouch ouch" during it. I was afraid I'd hurt myself at the time, but couldn't stop.

As for your mom laughing when she saw you smack yourself, I have to say that I notice people often laugh when they're nervous or just don't know how to react to a weird situation. I get annoyed too, though, when someone laughs at something i'm doing during a seizure that i can't control.

Best of luck!
Warm regards,

I know what you mean about the pseudoseizure bit! I get sick of that myself. I was told I wanted attention to which I replied that I could find better ways of getting attention like climbing up on top of a table and doing a jig. That did not go over too well but for the life of me I do not know why anyone would want to have those kinds of feelings and things happening to their body to get attention. I know what you mean about the kids. I hated for my kids to see me when I was having an episode-- of course I was looking for attention! You can remain total consious during a seizure-- I hardly ever loose conciousness and I usually never stop hearing. I cannot respond back but I am aware of what is going on around me most of the time even if it is a little distorted. I have been in a coma and I can tell you that while I was in the coma I HEARD EVERYTHING!! So do not let anyone tell you --even a doctor or a neurologist that just because you are aware it can't be a seizure. SPS which I have most of the time -- I do not loose conciousness and CPS sometimes I loose time awareness but I do remember most things. I will have some black out time but believe me it is not an attention getter. I'd rather go out in the middle of the busiest highway and yell at the top of my lungs than suffer from this!! The "light shows"-- the squiggly lines and colored dots and such could be a migraine which also is connected with seizure activity. DO NOT LET DOCTORS BULLY YOU-- I have been at this for over a decade and the only real help you will get is when you stay as far away from Mental Health Pros as possible and find a neurologist who majors in Epilespy . Not all of them do and they don't always tell you that-- but you can tell by the way they treat you -- so I always ask if they are up on the Epilepsy info before I will hire them. GOD BLESS YOUKarol

You have no idea how much your reply has helped me.  I will continue to pursue this until I am satisfied with my answer!  I made an appointment with an epilepsy center yesterday and I am no longer continuing to see my old neurologist.  I am taking my care into my own hands and not waiting for my doctors referrals anymore.  Fortunately my insurance does not need referrals to specialists, so I can make my own appts. without needing someone else's permission first, so it's time I do this on my own.Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  God bless you too.  And thank you for taking the time to answer me.Theresa

It is possilbe to ahve seizures while consious.However, they are few and far between.  having gone through 3 or years of medical school leaning on being a neuro, I ahve some textbooks I can look in and give you information based on the medical aspect of what you want to know.IF you have a Primary or Secondary TC, you will NEVER have consiousness.  All consiousness is supressed during a convulsion, hence switching off or turning off the brain the same way you would a light switch.Those seizures last an average of 2-4 minutes, occaisonally shorter or longer give or take.  If those do go longer than 5 minutes, than emergency personel need to be contacted.  Post-ictal for hours to days afterwards.In Simple Partial seizures the consiousness does remain in tact, and those last anywhere from 30 secs-1 1/2 minutes.  No post-ictal state.In CPS the consiouness or awareness is altered or lost completey and this will vary for each person because of their set seizure pattern.They will do the same things everytime, and their actions or automatisms will also remain the same.These seizures last on average from 2-3 minutes.  Postical for hours to days afterwards.Myoclonic seizures involve quick muscle-jerk motions of the legs, hands, arms, shoulders, and neck.  Awareness and consiousness is maintained during these seizures, and they only last a few seconds, no more.  No post-ictal state.In Absence seizures wether they are part of an adult syndrome, or a childhood syndrome, they cause loss of consiousness and last for 5-20 seconds, and can occur from as few times as around 50 to as many as 4-500 times a day.  No post-ictal state.Atonic seizures cause a very momentary lapse of consiousness and the person isn't even aware.  They last 2-3 seconds.  No post-ictal stateTonic seizures cause a loss of consiousness for everything around them.They get stiff like a bpoard and fall to the ground.  They get cyanotic and have a fixed gaze like that of a TC.  Post-ictal for hours to days afterwards.Clonic seizures cause a loss of consiousness and are similair to TC except they only have the rhythmic jerking and no stiffening.  They last 2-3 minutes.  Postical for hours to days afterwards.Nancy


"It is possilbe to ahve seizures while consious.

However, they are few and far between.  having gone through 3 or years of medical school leaning on being a neuro, I ahve some textbooks I can look in and give you information based on the medical aspect of what you want to know."

Sorry but that line about consious seizures being few and far between is FALSE.  I know I been doing half my life. And trust me its no fun espically when your convulsing in the shower and know your banging your head aginst the wall and your arm's got 3rd degree burn from falling and flipping the cold water off....but you still wait for the convulsing to end so you can find the strength to scream for help.

A person may loose complete AWARENESS and controll but many people have seizures with CONSIOUSNESS.  I've been an epileptic for 17 years and have had a number of full body covulsing 3-4min seizures.    I'm not a unique case either. Many epileptics are consious through  convulsive seizures. There is also the epileptic that will lose consiousness as soon as a seiz begins.  I 've only ever doen that once.  I think you better spend some more time reading up on your epilepsy FACTS while your in school .

The dividing line between simple partial seizures and complex partial seizures is the impairment
of consciousness. Unfortunately, there is no objective and valid definition of consciousness
anywhere. Just about everyone will claim to know the definition of "consciousness," but all the
definitions are just jumbles of synonyms that are just as vague and ambiguous.

People with partial seizures that frequently cluster around the dividing line of "consciousness"
often realize that this dividing line is arbitrary and is based on the subjective opinions of
other people, whether or not they are "experts" or "amateurs."

One official definition of impaired consciousness "is defined as the inability to respond
normally to exogenous stimuli by virtue of altered awareness and/or responsiveness." My
partial seizures frequently halt my speech, so I can reword this as the inability to normally
make a vocal response to exogenous stimuli, so I could be labeled as having "impaired
consciousness"; but, a severe sore throat could have the same result, and holding a "sore throat"
as an impairment to consciousness reveals an inherent absurdity to this definition of impaired
consciousness. As a skeptic, the word "normal" and the unusual word "exogenous" could be held
by the rules of logic to reveal the definition as revealing an "impaired consciousness," so the
word "normal" has to be used with great care. The word "exogenous" also disqualifies the notions
of the internal stimuli of "thinking" and "memory" as possible lone elements in having non-impaired
"consciousness." Hence, blindness, or deafness, or muteness, etc. would all meet the definition of
"impaired consciousness" without extreme care with the word "normal," which would usually be held
as absurd also.

From Gloor, P. (1986): Consciousness as a neurological concept in epileptology: a critical review,
EPILEPSIA 27(2), S14-S26: (Gloor in 1986 wondered whether) "consciousness really represents a
workable neurological concept in epileptology and in neurology in general," he then concluded
the terms 'loss' or 'impairment of consciousness' were inadequate. For these reasons we prefer
to speak of 'loss of contact'. "Limbic Seizures In Children" edited by Avanzini, Beaumanoir, and
Mira 2001, ISBN 0969-0301, Chapter 6 Mai, Francione, Cardinale, Russo, Munari.

To me, the phrase "loss of contact" has even more problems than "impairment of consciousness",
especially with the now ubiquity of cell phones and people suffering "loss of contact" due to
the limited range of their cell phones. Somewhat like B. F. Skinner, I believe the notion of
"consciousness" and all of the similiar notions are not scientific, and even in informal
conversations, their use can cause great consternation to false agreement whether or not they
are used carefully.

Yes you can have a seizure and remain conscious.I had a seizure where a lady pulledover in her car called 9-1-1The paramedic told me I didn't have a seizure.I talk my neuro.He said Belinda you know more paramedics know about seizures.I took them info on epilepsy and seizures. Belinda

Hi Theresab! yes. you can have seizures and be aware that you're having them and just not have any ability to do anything about them. I was having lunch with my sister and had one in the middle of the restaurant. All the sudden I couldn't speak and my hand made some kind of criss/cross pattern on my chest - like i crossed my heart. I knew i was doing it, and still remember it - she was going "karen? karen?" the whole time, but i couldn't answer her or stop doing what i was doing. it was pretty humiliiating. Karen

This morning I was in bed and my eyes were open I was conscious, I could think clearly I could hear the radio in the pother room and see the light n the hall, but my body could not move,

I had my arm in the air then all of a sudden it dropped and felt like someone was pulling me off the bed, and i tried to yell out to my roomate but I couldnt speak, the I calmed my self tried to concentrate really hard and tried to speak again, still nothing, then I noticed my whole body was shaking , and i tohut to myself "am i having a siezure?" then i repeatedly tried calling to my roomie and couldnt make any audible noise, then i fociused really hard and thoguyht tro my self if only i could jsut get enogyh air coming out i might be able to make a noise, then bam "MICK" but it wasnt very loud and he still wasnt awake, and then all of a sudden everything stopped i could move and speak.


At some points it felt as thoguh i was watching myself but couldnt do anything.

It reminded me of "the old hag" or sleep paralisis, wehre you cant move but you can see and hear and some people report flaoting above there body and watching it happen, some people say it feels as thoguhsomeone is pinning htem down wit hthere hands and they see a old lady above them, hence the old hag term,  


However this was different very similar in allot of ways but my body was convulsing and htats NEVER happend before


and hteres no history of siezures in my family that i heard of 

Have you had an in patient vEEG yet? 

I should also bring up that zig zag lines are often caused by migraine, so you might be having silent migraines that trigger psychogenic seizures. I really don't know, but that's just a shot in the dark. Maybe you should talk to a headache specialist.

I often can't move when I first wake up and my eyes are open. It happens when I have a bout of sleep paralysis but I still can't move even after I open my eyes. It's like my brain just isn't turned all the way on yet. I don't think it's uncommon to get kind of stuck between awake and dreaming to one degree or another.

Once I was dreaming that zombies were after me AND had sleep paralysis, so finally I managed to open my eyes up and I thought I could feel a zombie hand crawling up me. Hehe. It was really scary! Just because your eyes are open doesn't mean you're completely awake.


I just recently had a tonic/clonic while conscious.  I felt it building up, felt my foot start to jiggle and twitch and then BAM, felt a jolt of elecricity from my hip down my leg and then it was off to the races, stiffening, jerking and all.  I very coherently and loudly hollered, "Make it stop, make it stop!" My husband verified this all later, so no, I didn't imagine it.  I became unconscious shortly thereafter, with from the seizure or medication.  You can be 100 percent conscious during a full-blown seizure.

I liked the way you described it! It made me smile to remember once when I was literally at the races and had a seizure! I was with a date and my family (Thank God my family was there because that was my last date with him! I had already told him that I'm prone to seizures but I guess knowing it and seeing it is a different story.)

My diagnosis is SLE (Sustemic Lupus) which took about 20 years to finally confirm. I actually didn't start having seizures until I was in my 30s. It started as migraines when I was younger, and as the nerves degenerated the symptoms progressed. At this point I've had quite a few different types of seizures which honestly are the least of my concerns, not to belittle anyone's health issues but because I've had other things that were more urgent related to SLE, such as kidney failure etc.

My seizures have ranged from mild episodes of confusion to suddenly becoming aware and not knowing where I was to the repetitive tasks (Such as looking for something in my purse so long that I 'some to' with people freaking out around me... I am usually unaware, except for the obvious effects (like slowly coming to on the floor for no apparent reason), although at least once I literally watched myself thrashing on the tile floor and heard the crunches as I broke both bones in my arm.

At this point I've been living alone for a while, and it never occurred to me until I mentioned it to my sister "I haven't had a seizure in 3 years!" I was so proud until she said "How do you know? You live alone and you've mentioned sore muscles etc."

I have all of my seizures when i am conscious. They are very short only 1-3 seconds long.My muscles in my face tighten up and sometimes my chin would sort of drop down but worst of all i sometimes become incontinent. I have had epilepsy my whole life and am 46 years old now. I used to have just tonic-clonic seizures. These short seizures started when i was about 17 years old.I have not had a tonic-clonic seizure for 2 years.
Now.I have these short seizures about 6-7 a week. I usually have more when it is the week of a full moon. I know that may sound
strange and some doctors disagree that the moon can effect us but from a lifetime of experiencing this i have to believe that it
is possible. I would lose consciousness when ever i had tonic-clonic seizures which i only about 3-4 a year. I wish i was able to
control these small seizures.I am taking 3 kinds of medicine for a total of 24 pills a day and i also have the vagal nerve stimulant
implant. The implant helps a little because it is constantly running.It is good to have if you have an aura before the seizure because
you can swipe the magnet and stop the seizure. i have never had an aura before any seizure so i swipe the magnet afterwards to
prevent it from getting bigger. My doctor says that these small seizures start the same way larger ones do but are not strong enough
to turn into a tonic-clonic seizure.So the answer to your question is yes it is possible.

I've had petit mals and one grand mal. I know the terminology is old, but I haven't bothered to get specifics on the new ones.


Anyway..I had the petit's starting at about age 7. I had the grand mal right before diagnosis. My mom always thought I was having seizures with the petit mal, but it wasn't affecting me negatively so she didn't sweat it.

 Getting back to the specifics on the topic..I'm always fully conscious and aware. ALL of my petit mals are VERY mild. I can carry-on a conversation, DRIVE, cook, anything. My eyes don't roll back, and I don't have any kind of spasm or facial tightening or paralysis, or whatever. So, I'm definitely conscious and aware. I just get the deja-vu, and if I'm drivign or carryin-on a conversation I'll pull over, or ask the person to hang on a sec while I let it pass. It only takes a few seconds, and I could drive or talk just fine, but if I don't just focus on it and let is pass, it'll hang around longer or disappear and come back later-on.

 That said, I've done well on medications (except for getting fat on Depakote) over the years, and haven't had a second grand mal (first was 13, and I'm 29 now) after the first one ever. I didn't have another petit mal from age 13 to 22, and other than having one or so a week back this past summer (went from Zonegran to Lamicatl to fix that), I haven't had any more.


But...I've never heard of anyone having petit mals as mild as mine, and I realize I'm very lucky to have full control during the episodes.

Hi Theresa:

My Mom, 71 years old, does have "conscious seizures" for a lack of a better explanation.  We brought her to the hospital by ambulance 3 times this last December.  The Dr.'s said that these "episodes" were behavioural. My mother was never one to gleen attention from others, nor was she overly drmatic or creative. I really believe that her physicians  do not have an explanation.  My Mom was diagnosed with MS, as a senior, and this is unusual.  The Episodes sound similar to yours in that she does have an aura prior to the event.  Then she begins to verbalize and her legs and arms tremble violently.  She can answer a question during an episode.  Somehow, I believe that they are related to her MS and to some neurological damage.

To answer your question, I have seen these conscious seizures.  I hope that you can find an explanation.  I was looking for an explanation on the internet when I saw your inquiry. 



Im 20 years old and have never had a seizure in my life, im at university living in halls, i came back from a night out, i hadnt had loads to drink but i was a little drunk, i sat down in the kitchen that i share and i couldnt stop my head rocking from side to side, i knew i was doing it, but i couldnt control it. I thought it was just me being drunk, as i went to stand up i found that i couldnt and ended up falling on the floor, where my whole body started shaking which i couldnt control or stop it lasted for about 30 mins then i had about 5-10 min break and another one came along, although i was still conscious the movements or spasms started out like shivers, then suddenly they became very excessive and fast, i couldnt understand what was going on, i managed to get hold of a friend who phoned me an ambulance, after the first two, these episodes or what ever, came suddenly and started and ended very quickly. They didnt seem to have any rythm to them, they were a mix of very short violent movements in one episode, and smaller movements over a longer period of time in the next one. When the ambulance people turned up i was feeling ok and didnt have another one, so declined going to hospital as they said there was nothing in the tests to suggest epilepsy or proper seizures.

 I was wondering if anyone has any information about this could it have just been me or the alcohol, or is there a possibility there could be something wrong with me please if anybody has any possible information that could help me as i dont know whether im safe going out as the episodes i had weren't easy to hide or carry on with as it seemed reali hard to get enough oxygen into my body, therefore i couldnt speak.

please any help would be appreciated

Thankyou Nat 


Have you ever been tested for Lyme Disease? If you've ever spent any time outdoors, hiking, camping, barbecuing in the back yard, doing yard work or have a pet that goes outdoors and lives in the house with you, perhaps you were bitten by a Lyme infected tick. (Borrelia burgdorferi is the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, but ticks can also carry other co-infections like Babesia, Ehrlichia, Bartonella, Anaplasma, Tularemia...etc.) which when a tick bites you can be passed on to you.

I was finally diagnosed with Lyme after 20 years of symptoms that no one could figure out. Some of these symptoms are migrating joint pain, extreme fatigue, sensitivity to bright light, sensitivity to loud noises/music, cold night sweats, plummeting body temperatures, nausea/vomitting, racing heart beats where it felt as though I couldn't catch my breath, and what I call "conscious seizures", where if I'm standing, I usually end up on the ground with my arms and legs moving or thrashing uncontrollably. Sometimes I can speak through these episodes, and sometimes it is difficult to speak, but I am aware of what's going on.

The reason I'm sharing this is that many people who actually have Lyme disease are being misdiagnosed or NOT diagnosed. Because I've gone undiagnosed for so long, it's felt that I now have neuroborreliosis, in addition to co-infections, Babesia and Ehrlichia.

IGeneX Labs out of California probably has one of the more reliable Western Blot Lyme and Co-infections Tests available. Another Lab, NeuroScience, in conjunction with Pharmasan Labs has come out with a new Lyme test called My Lyme ID or Lyme Immune Tolerance Test which measures cytokines our body produces in response to Borrelia specific antigens.

The IGeneX website:

The Lyme ID website:

I wish you the best of luck with your search for answers.  NHcoyote

I'm replying to this old thread, mostly because I'd like to keep it going. I have partial seizures that can secondarily generalize, and only once (that I know of) have I lost consciousness during a general one. I'm dazed during and after them, and am extremely fatigued after (I typically have them at night, and will immediately fall asleep right after even if I wasn't all that tired before-hand). During the few times they've generalized during the day, I can be dazed and weak for minutes to hours after. I live alone, so I don't have an "objective" observer to tell me what they've observed.

I'm so glad this was posted.

My problems started about 8 months after I went on Ritalin. I ignored the rapid pulse, the moments of increased stress and no focus, the hair loss and even the loss of appetite and increased weight loss.

Then one day when I was stressing out a bit in my mind (it wasn't even intense stress, I was just thinking something over) my arms and legs started to jerk uncontrollably. Then before I know it I'm paralyzed on one side, with a droopy eye and I'm unable to speak.

The next time this happened the jerkiness got more severe and spread all the way into my head. The worse episode I had is when my head would jerk around uncontrollable and my eyes went to the side, and I felt like they would explode. I was left unable to move but this time with a severe headache.

I've also had repetitive movements, strange behavior and hallucinations (not just seeing lights or hearing sounds that aren't there - full blown fantasy episodes).

I'm now going through that sleep paralysis everyone has been talking about. I'm off Ritalin. My intelligence also feels lower. A friend calls it 'decompensation'. My sensory issues are worse. I find myself so overwhelmed by sounds and movement that I start to act like a child to deal with the stress. I guess I should add that I'm autistic. I used to be high functioning.

These seizures seem to be triggered by Ritalin and any slight amount of stress.

Again I'm so grateful that I found this thread. No one, especially professionals, would believe me.

Masterj described what goes on. I do not lose consciousness, etc..  The tiredness is there, etc... I have several different forms of siezures. That's a big part..What type of siezure your neurologist says it is. Then your individual needs for treatment can be made.

heey i know thi is from a long time ago but i just came across is, :/
i know what your feeling  like, i just turned 15 and ive been haveing the same things since i was 12.
I was at a friends house and we were down stairs and i got really dizzy all of a sudden not even from standing up fast, but i when to grab the chair and fainted that time i kinda blacked out i guess i had a sesuzure i didnt wake up until her mom called my name and after that i still couldnt see straight i kept shakeing and then id get really hot for a few seconds then get really cold. her mom called my dad and then he took me to the hospital, they said nothing was wrong after 3 hours waiting for results but then i was good for about two months,
then i passed out infront of my fire place, i woke up as soon as the broom and stuff for them fell on my legs, but that was the last one i wasnt consious for, the rest after i have been coustious for and i dont know why, sometimes i wont even end up laying down sometimes i can handle it just sitting but it always happens for me if im standing up. i havent whent to the docters since, but my dad always blamed it on me not eating, mind you i have been everytime it happens ive had a full stomac.

but half way through grade 8 i started smokeing weed, i have only "passed out" twice since then and its been in the last month, once wa yesterday and that was the longest experince i had, my friend thank god was nice about it and just made me relax, but the time before that i was with my ex and some of his friends started shakeing hit the ground and then just sat down, it feels like a dream everytime, but i know its not and i just want to know why, because i know the last two werent from smokeing to much i hav done larger burns between the incedences and nothing happened, but yeah i dont know whats up, and the doctor didnt give me any awensers

Absolutely. Unfortunately I still remain conscious while seizing.. During these seizures my muscles get torn, so I'de rather loose consciousness.... . My seizure activity is just in one part of the brain, it takes both parts to lose consciousness..

Thank you, Theresa!!!

I know this is an older post but I hope you still read it. Your question and many of the responses helped me so much. I had a stroke just over a year ago, and let this be a warning to EVERYONE, the commonly listed stroke symptoms do not apply to every situation. I was just sitting at my desk when suddenly my left arm became numb and tingly feeling, like it had "fallen asleep." In fact that's what I thought had happened. No big deal, right? I kept shaking it and moving it around but the feeling didn't go away. After several hours I finally went to the local hospital where they did tests and said I had a brain anuerysm! I was transported to another hospital (West Virginia University Hospital) where I was treated as much as they said they could and after a day or so of observation (I forget exactly how long they kept me) I was released.

Within the next few days I started having what I thought were spasms in my left arm, leg and stomach muscles (seizures always involved losing consciousness, right?) I returned to the local hospital where they gave me something and also dismissed it as what I described it as, muscle spasms, and sent me home after a few hours. Later that night I was awakened by MAJOR spasms in my entire body. I managed to wake up my partner before I loss consciousness and he called the ambulance. For a while I was told I had even stopped breathing. This time I was taken back to WVU (the local hospital's doctors don't seem to be very competant)  and diagnosed with a grand mal seizure (not muscle spasms.) This time I was put on Dilantin and Tegratol for it. I'm also on Lamictal.

My brain aneurysm had reduced greatly when they tested me last September but I'm still having seizures and they are adjusting my meds. The seizures used to come only about once a month and now they seem to be happening more frequently. Most seem to be stress induced even over the smallest things (by nature I tend to internalize everything.) Sometimes I get a "sense" (which I really can't describe) that something isn't right shortly before they happen, but no actual auras.

Now the thing that seems different from everyone else here is that mine only happen on the left side of my body. My aneurysm is on the right side of my brain if that has anything to do with it. If I'm standing up when they start it usually begins with a slight jerking in my left leg. Three times it has started like this in the shower. I sit down asap before it gets any further and, I admit it, I self-medicate with 200 mg Dilantin (I've told my Neurologist that I do it and he says it sure couldn't hurt. I'm afraid of how far it will go if I don't.) My left arm, leg and stomach muscles jerk and twitch pretty violently for up to 45 minutes. I'm completely conscious and able to speak (usually to reassure those around me that I'm alright, calm down, I'm not in any pain, although muscles in my left arm start to hurt after a while.) Sometimes I have trouble getting out words (I'll say, for example, twenty when I'm trying to say two and I just can't say the word I'm thinking.) I know if my head starts to jerk to the side I'm in trouble and that's when I try to get help. Luckily this has only happened several times. Toward the end of the seizure my leg stops jerking suddenly and I'm able to control it again and the arm is always last to stop. I'm always tired afterwards and my leg is weak and shakey when I walk.

Sometimes my seizures are just in my left arm. Sometimes I just have slight tremors in the arm and leg.

I've taken the stroke and seizures fairly calmly so far until yesterday I broke down and cried during the middle of one, wondering if this is what my life's going to be like. Just because someone else has had a bad day and jumps on me over something minor, is my body going to lose control like that? I rarely go out in public because crowds stress me (always have) and I don't want to have one in the middle of a store somewhere and have everyone around wondering what's wrong with me. Twice it has started in public and I've managed to get to the car before it went into a full seizure.

I was lucky with my stroke. It has only affected my arm along with some weakness in my leg but it's these seizures that seem to be the worst result. But your message and the responses has helped bring some relief. I'm not the only one out there who has similar problems. Neither are you.

Absolutely YES you can have seizures without losing consciousness, they are called simple partial seizures. I suffer from them monthly. Good luck getting the diagnosis and help that you need. I write a blog about living with epilepsy. I was diagnosed 16 years ago, so i've been dealing with it for a while. Good luck!!


Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

24/7 helpline