How can you tell when your about to have a seizure??


I just had a seizure for the first time in almost 8 years last week. I can never tell when I'm about to have one..does anyone have signs that show you when your about to have a seizure?  It sucks now that I can't drive for atleast another 6 months and even then i'm kind of afraid to after what happened. I just got home and I had a seizure when i walked in the door. If it would have happened a few minutes before I would have been driving so I;m a little nervous to drive now.


Re: How can you tell when your about to have a seizure??

Hi Lindsey1,

I have Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE), and simple partial seizures that are distinct indicators to clusters of seizures (that include complex partial seizures (CPS), that spread into secondarily generalized tonic-clonics (TCs) without Anti-Epileptic Drugs (AEDs)), giving me warning aura of the impending CPS and possible TCs. The aura from the simple partial seizures give warning usually hours before the stronger seizures.

I also have non-clustered simple partial seizures that are frequent, but are presently limited to visceral sensations, mainly ecstatic sensations of divine bliss, and a few partials with "bland" sensations and synesthesia typically between smell and touch. I also have very short absence seizures, or very short atonic seizures, or continuing very brief Long QT phenomena (the distinctions are nearly impossible without many repeated, expensive exams, and the classificatory system is flawed besides with choice of adjectives), which are mainly noticeable when I'll drop anything heavy that I happen to be hanging onto when they strike without warning (these brief seizures stopped me from continuing weight-lifting exercises).

The cycles of clusters with TLE has moderately reliable prodromal phases, more reliable pre-ictal phases, and then the very reliable aura. Painless/painful migraines tend to interfere with the reliability of the prodromal and pre-ictal phases, but not the aura (sometimes, many aura will make the migraines instantaneously disappear). Most of my partial seizures have the characteristics of being Limbic seizures, which is a mutual overlap, amongst vague area separations, with mesial TLE.

I stopped driving about 23 to 24 years ago when my complex partials became more severe (with tongue bites), while I was in the awkward position of the State Rehabilitation Department telling me I should continue to drive. AEDs now stop my TCs, but still not the partials.


Re: How can you tell when your about to have a seizure??

Lindsey, to answer your question directly and correctly, as for "How can you tell when your about to have a seizure?" You cannot tell when you're about to have a seizure. As far as I know, the only source that might be able to detect when someone is about to have a seizure, is with the help of what's called a electroencephalogram, also known as an EEG, and most likely with someone who is experienced at reading an EEG.

As for what the previous replier said, "The aura from the simple partial seizures give warning usually hours before the stronger seizure." With an aura being a simple partial seizure itself, then that simply means no one can tell when an aura is about to take place because an aura is a seizure itself. As for the amount of time on aura last before it advances into a complex partial seizure or a secondarily generalized tonic clonic seizure, that time can be anywhere from being in a quick split second that the person is unable to detect themselves, up to several minutes. Not hours.

About the type of seizure you had for the first time in over 8 years last week, do you know what type of seizure you had? Do you remember what all you did, or what you did differently, within the 24 hours prior to when that seizure took place? Have you or were you getting a lesser amount of sleep? If you had any intake of food or liquids that contain caffeine, did you consume more caffeine within the 24 hours before you had that seizure? When you walked in the door, did you smell something, hear something, see or feel something different?

If you can remember everything you did within the 24 hours before you had that seizure, write it all down on a list, and then try to repeat everything exactly how you did it before, in order to find out if it will make you have another seizure. If you do end up having another seizure, then try to repeat nearly everything you did once again, but this time, avoiding only one or two things on that list of what you did. If you do end up having another seizure, then apparently what you tried to avoid was not the reason why you had that seizure. So if you want to repeat this procedure, then don't avoid those one or two things again, but instead, avoiding something else.

Imagine that list as being a long list of ingredients for a recipe. You combine all of the ingredients on that entire list together, in the order of how it's explained in the instructions. No matter what you put together, whether if it is baked, fried, boiled, or steamed, once everything has been done it is time for you to judge what you created. So when you reach a point where you had a sample of everything, and you have a feeling where something just did not taste or feel right, and develop a determination of wanting to find out what it was, then in the future, you will try to follow that recipe again, but this time eliminating one or two ingredients to find what gave you the feeling that something just did not taste or feel right. Did the recipe have just a little bit too much sugar, too much flour or butter? Did you cook the food a little bit too much, or not enough?

Yes, a procedure like this might be rather difficult and quite time-consuming. But it is a procedure you can do yourself, to find out what it was that did not feel right. Even when what didn't make you feel like was a seizure.

It took me several years to discover my seizures were occurring around 6 hours after I had eaten something. Over time, I found out that caffeine was triggering my seizures, which by the way is a common trigger for a lot of individuals. Several years ago I tried to avoid items that contained gluten, which really didn't help much. And, not too long ago I discovered that my consumption of potatoes was causing me to have seizures.

When a person becomes afraid and a little nervous due to having seizures, then for however long it takes to discover what's causing the seizures, the person needs to hold onto their determination in order to gain or regain their privilege of being able to drive.

Bruce (I'm not a doctor, but instead, an epilepsy support group leader, epilepsy advocate, who has epilepsy.)

Re: How can you tell when your about to have a seizure??

Hi Spike,

It looks like the concise verbosity of "Plain English" is taking its toll again!!!

In a response about driving, in a blog at epilepsy-dot-com, the source of the reference is to a bunch of "know-it-alls" you may again wish to attempt to adjust to political correctectness, instead of that of a person's limited stance of making a noted weight of disagreement: Epilepsy And Brain Mapping Program, 10 Congress Street,Suite 505, Pasadena, California 91105

One list I like is:

Can I drive if I have epilepsy?
Each state has its own requirements for people with epilepsy to drive. Generally, your physician will okay you for a license if the following criteria is met:

Completely controlled on medication
Have seizures only at night
Have seizures which are focal motor
Have only auras
Have long auras before seizures which allow you to pull off to the side of the road
Have predictable seizures that occur during fever, sleep deprivation or another time when you can predict when the seizure will happen

Check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles for the rules that apply in your state.

Currently listed at:

One major problem is the intense prejudice against people with epilepsy. There are many news stories where a person with epilepsy is given much more severe penalties (even when not at fault in an accident) simply for having a record of epilepsy of having very minor seizures that do not interfere with driving, but trying to meet such prejudice head-on with facts often doesn't work. Drunk drivers in similar accidents frequently receive much less severe penalties than a driver with well controlled epilepsy because of this prejudice.

It is mainly "Catch-22".

Re: How can you tell when your about to have a seizure??


I'm 40 and was diagnosed with Simple Partial and Tonic Clonic Seizures June of 2010 and I have to tell you after reading your response to Lindsey, you were very impressive, caring and took the time to be thorough....I learned more from you than from my own Neurologist, whom I've seen 4 times, I usually see his P.A..

I just had to reply to tell you how great I think you are!!


Re: How can you tell when your about to have a seizure??

Thank you, Sienna.

Bruce (I'm not a doctor, but instead, an epilepsy support group leader, epilepsy advocate, who has epilepsy.)