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Focal (partial) seizures

This section is about symptoms of focal seizures that happen in the different lobes (areas) of your brain.

Focal (partial) seizures in the temporal lobes

Focal seizures starting in the temporal lobes are common.

The temporal lobes are responsible for many functions. Some examples of these functions are hearing, speech, memory, and emotions.

Here are some common symptoms of focal seizures in the temporal lobes

  • Flushing, sweating, going very pale, having a churning feeling in your stomach
  • Seeing things as smaller or bigger than they really are
  • Seeing or hearing something that is not actually happening
  • Smelling non-existent smells
  • Tasting non-existent tastes
  • Feeling frightened, panicky, sad or happy
  • Feeling detached from what is going on around you
  • Feeling sick
  • Having vivid memory ‘flashbacks’
  • Having an intense feeling of ‘deja vu’, when you are convinced you have experienced something before – even when you haven’t
  • Being unable to recognise things that are very familiar to you - sometimes referred to as ‘jamais vu’
  • Chewing, smacking your lips, swallowing or scratching your head
  • Fumbling with your buttons or removing items of your clothing
  • Wandering off, without any awareness of what you are doing, or where you are going

Focal (partial) seizures in the frontal lobes

Focal seizures starting in the frontal lobes are common.

Your frontal lobes are responsible for many different functions. These include movement, emotions, memory, language, and social and sexual behaviour. The frontal lobes are also considered to be home to your personality.

Not all frontal lobe seizures will be noticed by an onlooker. However, some frontal lobe seizures can look quite dramatic and unusual. Because of this it is common for them to be wrongly diagnosed as something other than epilepsy.

Here are some common symptoms of focal seizures in the frontal lobes

  • Turning your head to one side
  • Your arms or hands becoming stiff and drawing upwards
  • Cycling movements of your legs
  • Thrashing of your arms
  • Carrying out strange and complicated body movements
  • Having problems speaking or understanding
  • Experiencing sexual feelings and showing sexual behaviour
  • Screaming, swearing or crying out
  • Losing control of your bladder and/or bowels

Jacksonian seizures

A particular type of frontal lobe seizure is a ‘Jacksonian’ seizure. This is usually brief and consists of jerking or trembling movement. These begin in a finger and then slowly march upwards to the whole hand and arm. Afterwards, there could be a short period of muscle weakness.

Todd’s paralysis or Todd’s paresis

Following a focal seizure, particularly a frontal lobe seizure, some people have what is known as Todd’s paralysis or Todd’s paresis. This is paralysis, lasting from minutes to hours, in the area of your body that was involved in the seizure. 

Focal (partial) seizures in the parietal lobes

Focal seizures starting in the parietal lobes are uncommon.

The parietal lobes are responsible for your bodily sensations. Focal seizures in this part of your brain cause strange physical feelings. A tingling or warm feeling down one side of your body is typical. These types of seizures are also known as ‘sensory’ seizures.

Focal (partial) seizures in the occipital lobes

Focal seizures starting in the occipital lobes are uncommon.

The occipital lobes are responsible for your vision. Focal seizures happening in this part of your brain affect the way you see things. Seeing flashes, or balls of light, or having brief loss of vision, are typical symptoms.

Focal (partial) seizures progressing to generalised seizures

Some people have a warning - known as an aura - that they are about to have a  tonic-clonic seizure. The warning is usually very brief and, if you have a warning, you tend to have the same warning every time. This warning is, in fact, epileptic activity in a part of your brain (a focal seizure). Once the epileptic activity spreads to both halves of your brain, you have a tonic-clonic seizure. If you have a warning, you tend to have the same warning every time. And the warning is usually brief.

The warning can be very useful, as it may give you time to get to a place of safety, or to alert someone else that you are going to have a seizure. Sometimes, however, the epileptic activity spreads to both halves of your brain so quickly that you appear to go straight into a tonic-clonic seizure.

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  • Updated August 2013
    To be reviewed August 2015

Comments: read the 43 comments or add yours


Could you please take a look on youtube of 3year old Mitchells undiagnosed movement disorders as this condition has not been diagnosed. He has had numerous EEG's and 47 pages of tests which have still not resulted in an answer. We are unsure weather this is a seizure or a movement disorder. PLEASE HELP AS WE ARE DESPERATE FOR ANSWERS.. Thank you..

Submitted by karenwaters on

Hi Tracie

What a terrible situation to be in. I’m sure you’re very anxious to get a diagnosis for Mitchell. I’ve had a look at his video’s on Youtube, he tends to point his finger at his face, roll his eyes and blink doesn’t he?

The difficulty when diagnosing epilepsy is that the symptoms can be similar to a number of other medical conditions. So, to be given a diagnosis of epilepsy it’s important to have test results to back up the diagnosis. You did say that Mitchell sees a paediatric neurologist. A paediatric neurologist is the specialist to see when a child has epilepsy. They can also see children with other neurological conditions.

You didn’t say what tests Mitchell has had, just that he’s had many. There are different types of EEGs that can be done such as a video-telemetry http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/diagnosis/eeg-electroencephalogram#video-telemetry and an ambulatory EEG http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/diagnosis/eeg-electroencephalogram#ambulatory-eeg-tests . If he hasn’t had these it might be something to consider asking his specialist about. You can read about these tests on our website.

If you feel you haven’t had the right treatment for Mitchell, you could ask his GP or paediatric neurologist for a re-assessment at one of the children’s epilepsy assessment units. It might mean travelling, this would depend on where you live. You could contact the Epilepsy Helpline, 0808 800 5050 and speak to one of our trained advisers for further information about assessment units for children.

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna@Epileps... on

When I was a baby I was allergic to egg whites. My maternal grandmother was a Christian Scientist and believed in the "Hair of the Dog that Bit You" so she fed me 4 egg whites and I swelled right up and could have died, but I didn't and afterwards I wasn't allergic to egg whites ever again. However when I was 10 1/2 I starting having seizures and I beleive it stems from this allegy to egg whites. The last full convulsion I had (what I termed as tongue fits) was when I was doing my O Levels in 1969. Since then I have only had petite mal attacks, which have lessened in their frequency until I only get one or two every 4 to 6 months. However, sometimes I get a very bad one, like on Monday I suffered a severe case of food poisoning and had two fits, the 2nd on the bus home. They called a paramedic and he wanted me to go to hospital but there is so much stigma over epilepsy that I would have lost my job and any chance of any future jobs so I stuck it out all week, continue in my present job, even though it was hard, and eventually recovered. This has been the story of my life - always compromising because I can't go back on any medication because I need to be mentally alert in order to do my job properly.

Submitted by Julia Bentley on

as a child from about 11 I had bad seizures every month or so for about nearly 2 years, I took medication until I was about 14 and have been fine since, however, I am now 16 and I'm unsure if I'm suffering partial seizures in the temporal lobes, and I'm really scared that my epilepsy may be returning.

Submitted by Deanna on


The only way to find out is to talk to your doctor. They might want to refer you back to an epilepsy specialist, to find out whether you are having focal seizures.

If you want to talk to an adviser about your fears, please call the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050, and we will do our best to help you.

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Kathy@Epilepsy ... on

Is there any chance of neuropthy in long term use of AEDS and if so is there reversal of this thru meds.

Submitted by James Slemp on

Hi. Peripheral neuropathy is a possible side effect of some epilepsy medicines. However, there can be many reasons why a person gets neuropathy. Treatment would depend on the cause and what would suit the individual person.

So, anyone with suspected neuropathy should talk to their own family doctor. They will look into the causes for that person and suggest the best possible ways of treating it for them.

Advice and Information Team


Submitted by Amanda@Epilepsy... on

This info was so interesting! I have had tonic clonic seizures since I was 12 and 12 years later on a high dose of Keppra, I still get the odd one and can't drive! I am unfortunately still riddled with these partial seizures, often when I am tired and as I suffer from Juvenile Myoclonic epilepsy, being tired and stressed causes funny jerks. But I totally understand my "detached" feelings now. Where you don't feel like you are in control and your body is just going through the motions. I often get to work without realising I've left the house! I am currently seeing an Epilepsy nurse to help stop these. I am always so tired and if anyone has felt this and overcome it, please let me know what you did!

Submitted by Jenni on

I've been epiletict for couple of years and I only find out after reading the site that mine is focal seizure and I have been on degranol med and I didn't have a seizure since 2009 though I'm having black outs now and again not offen though it think they helping, it just that I think I need counselling about the desease and how to face the world and don't feel descreaminated, all patients with epilepsy need counselling I believe..

Submitted by martha on

Hi Martha

Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased you have found our website helpful.

How people come to terms is very individual. But in most case people do find it helpful to talk to or contact people who understand what they are experiencing. We have various ways for people to do this. We have Local groups, facebook, twitter and our forum4e online community. Counsellors that specialise in epilepsy are very few. Should a person need counselling because of their epilepsy, they would need to ask their family doctor, epilepsy nurse or neurologist.

Diane, Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane@Epilepsy ... on

About 16 months ago I began taking medication for rapid cycling bipolar, that very evening I feel asleep on the sofa and woke with my whole body jerking. I put it down to the meds and left it at that. In the past few months I have noticed the occasional bruising on my arms or legs that I can't remember injuring, I have been waking with my jaws aching as my teeth have been clenched together, a wet arm and pillow from dribbling and a couple of times I have bitten so hard down on the side of my tongue that teeth marks have been left, yet I can't remember doing it. A few days ago I napped on the sofa again and remember, (sort of) my right arm stiffening up and my shoulder going up to my ear (sleeping on my left side), which happened twice. I was sort of aware but I was barely conscious. I'm not sure whether to go to the doctors or not, I don't want her to think I'm an idiot or strange... Any advice please?

Submitted by Sara Oliver on

Dear Sara

Thank you for your question. It would be advisable to talk to your family doctor. I’m sure they will listen and take your concerns seriously. As your symptoms started at the same time you started on your medicine, they should check if it’s a side effect of the medicine you are taking.

If you don’t already, it could be helpful to keep a diary of your symptoms. A diary can be a helpful record of what’s been happening for you and your doctor. If the family doctor thinks epilepsy could be the reason, they will refer you to a neurologist. Preferably to someone with a specialist interest in epilepsy, as there are many neurological conditions. Here is a link to our information on how epilepsy is diagnosed.

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email helpline@epilepsy.org.uk or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.

Yours sincerely


Submitted by Diane on

I am wondering if you have ever heard of a focal seizure being brought on by watching movies in a movie theatre? After I leave (and occasionally before), I will experience many of the symptoms of the occipital nerve seizure. However this is the only time I ever have them--never with television or using my laptop. I am to the point of giving up going to movies because the sensation is so extremely unpleasant!

Submitted by Ruthie Bowers on

Hi Ruthie

That sounds very unpleasant. Watching movies, including 3D movies, at the movies doesn’t pose a risk in itself. However, some films contain images such as flashing or flickering lights, which could trigger a seizure. The seizures usually happen at the time of, or shortly after, looking at the trigger. So your seizures could be related, depending on the content of the movie.

There is a suggestion that for flashing or flickering lights to trigger a seizure, they have to be seen by both sides of your brain. So, if you are in a situation where you feel a seizure could be triggered, covering one eye with your hand, would mean that the trigger would only be seen by one eye, which means one side of your brain. You could try that next time you go to the movies, to see if that helps.


Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Kathy on

Thank you for answering, Kathy. I will try the one eye trick...hope that works!

Submitted by Ruthie Bowers on

Hi all, I'm feeling very lost and confused. From 3rd feb at aprox 32 weeks pregnant I was having 'episodes' upto 3 times daily with a very strong sense for de ja vu, panic, dream like sensation etc i went to see my gp who sent me straight to hospital where I was investigated for partial seizures with an MRI and EEG which were both normal. The consultant advised me not to drive as my insurance may not pay out if i had an accident and they found out i was being investigated for epilepsy but at this stage i didn't have to inform dvla as they could say 100% if i was having seizures. I was told to keep an eye on it as it may get worse when baby arrived and I was sleep deprived. They continued to get worse and I'd wake up knowing I'd had one in my sleep but I had the last one on 18th march and never had another since giving birth. It's over 4 months since the last one and I had a review today with another consultant as the original guy didn't know what to suggest with regards to it being pregnancy related but the new consultant was very abrupt and just told me to surrender my licence and it still sounds like epilepsy to him this was after his trainee told me he thought I'd be ok to drive and didn't sound like epilepsy to him but he just wanted to check before he let me go. It seems like such a grey area and I don't want to lose my licence for a year if it was something pregnancy related! Any advice is welcome. Thanks

Submitted by Chloe on

Hi Chloe

I can see how you would be confused.

Epilepsy can be a difficult medical condition to diagnose. Test result aren’t always helpful either, as people with epilepsy can have normal test results. Between seizures an EEG test is most likely to have a normal result and ,  unless there is structural damage to the brain ,  an MRI can be normal too. Epilepsy is mainly diagnosed from what someone experiences, eye witness accounts and possibly any family history. You can find more detailed information about diagnosing epilepsy on our website.

You might also find it helpful to look at our information on seizures and some of their symptoms, especially the information on focal seizures. This is to see if you can identify any of your symptoms.

You mentioned that the first consultant advised you not to drive because of insurance. The driving agency's main priority is safety. So, the driving law is quite clear that if epilepsy is suspected, you need to stop driving and let them know. 

It’s great that you’ve not had a seizure for four months and it may have been that you were more susceptible to seizures  during your pregnancy. However, if you did have epileptic seizures ,  research says that you are less likely to have further seizures once you’ve been 12 months seizure free.  I f you’d like to read more detailed information on the driving law and epilepsy, this can be also be found on our website.

I do hope this help to explain some things to you. Perhaps your GP or epilepsy nurse (if you have one) could explain further why the specialist feels that you have epilepsy.

Epilepsy Action advice and information team

Submitted by Rosanna@Epileps... on

Hi everyone, I've had epilepsy since is was 21 when I had a huge tonic clonic seizure, since then I've suffered absences, partial and complex partial seizures!! They keep changing as the years go on? I've tried various meds and last October 2012 I was referred to the national neurology and neurosurgery hospital in London, since then I have been diagnosed with a benign DNET Tumor between my temperol lobe and occipital lobe. I've undergone many tests and am currently on a waiting list for intracranial surgery, followed by removal of the Tumor, but I've recently tried a new medication called prenampanel, apparently it's only been licensed over in the uk for last 6 months but I thought I'd give it a go? Sadly for me it didn't work, my seizures became less physical, more absences or partials, but I was hallucinating, not being able to sleep etc so I've come off them, I'm now back on my original meds keppra and lamotrigine, but I've been left with partials/ absences as I'm not quite sure what they are, but they're all day and come about every 2 mins, are very brief about 5-10 secs but my vision distorts but I'm aware of my surroundings and can talk through them? On Monday I thought I'd see how often they are and I counted 120 between 10am and bedtime about 9.30pm, I definitely know its a type of seizure as they're very similar to what I've experienced over the years, but ive never had them continual all day, leaves me with headaches, its exhausting!!! just wondered wether anyone else has experienced anything similar or the same as me, absolute nightmare as I've 3 children and as everyone else will understand, had to give up work, driving etc :( also very difficult to explain to people as I look ok but have just learnt to live with it!

Submitted by Joy Townsend on

Hi I was dianosed with focal seizures last year 2012, I was told that I could apply for disability living allowance, in which case I did, and I was turned down. Can someone please help me with advise.

Thanking you

Submitted by madelein mullings on

Hi Madelein

Some people with epilepsy may be able to claim the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). If you don’t agree with the Department of Work and Pensions decision, you can ask for the decision to be reviewed, or appeal against the decision. How to do this is explained in the letter you received from the Department of Works and Pensions. If you ask for a review or appeal, many people find they are more successful if they have help with completing the claim forms. Here's a link to our welfare benefit webpages where you will find details on helpful orgnaistions. If you haven’t already, you may also wish to view our information on the DLA for people with epilepsy

Please be aware there’s a time limit on being able to ask for a review or appeal.

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

I have had fits since I was 12 im 28 I only have them in the early hours of the morning in my sleep only I have about 2 seconds warning befor I have a fit which somtimes I can pull my self out of stop the fit by literary jumping up out of my sleep then standing up quickly my Hart beats like anything but im so pleased I pulled my self out of it it's the most scary thing ever.unfortunately I am semi contas thought lout my fit which my wife says last about 2 mins.this is what happens I get a feeling of cramp in my right leg I have 2 seconds if I don't sucsuced in pulling my self out of it I start my fit I start spiking around on my bed but can't move then their is a voice saying john roll roll roll telling me to roll off the bed but im stuck to the bed and paralysed repeating in till near the end then towards the end it says youv failed youv fail even though I have ended up on the floor which is where the voice was telling me to roll. Li have kids and a wife it's the most scariest thing ever I know it sounds weird but that's what happens iv only ever told my wife in fear of being classed as crazy it's like the devils talking to me it's really ruined my head up in my years iv gone through every kind of emotion thinking iv been taken by the devil that im going to he'll wen I die that's what I will feel for internaty but iv grown up im alive getting on with life. And lets face it theirs people in the word without water so it's not all bad just carry on be strong and remember your not the online take care jon

Submitted by john3084 on


About 4 or 5 weeks ago, I had the first instance of what I now think might be some sort of simple seizure (but am not sure) - I have since had about 4 more instances. I just had one about an hour ago. The experience tends to come on suddenly, and I have an inkling it is about to, and involves me remembering a dream (the same dream every time, I think), in quite detail. It only lasts maybe 20 seconds, and afterwards I feel nauseous for, at most, a few minutes, but then can't remember the dream that I had just relived. I didn't think too much of these events, other than that they were quite odd. I had been meaning to google it, just to see if others had the same or similar experience. I wasn't looking for a diagnosis, not expecting that it was potentially an oddity of medical origin, rather just wondering, out of curiosity, whether others have experienced the same. However, upon googling, I have come to notice my symptoms described in discussions with others suggesting that it might be a seizure or epilepsy. What are your thoughts? Mainly, I suppose, I want to know if this is something I should see someone for? It isn't impacting on my life. I would feel silly going to someone for this, but I think, after reading some of this information, that perhaps I should see someone. Who would I see and what would I tell them, if I should see someone, that is?

Kind regards,


Submitted by Sarah on

Hi Sarah

You are doing the right thing and investigating any symptoms that seem strange. So I hope the information below will help.

Epilepsy is a difficult medical condition to diagnose as the symptoms of epilepsy can be similar to many other medical conditions. The symptoms of the over 40 different types of seizures can also vary greatly. However, if you feel you’ve been having possible focal (partial) seizures it would be best to talk to your family doctor first.

You can also find information on our website about how epilepsy is diagnosed and tests that you might need to have.



Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna on

In the last 4 years I have had 3 episodes (poss seizures). The latest been today. Each episode has been very similar and have been 15months or so apart from each other. So today I came down feeling fine walked in the living room picked up some cups and went into the kitchen, immediately I had a overwhelming "da javu" feeling so I recognised this from last time and I rushed back into the room where my 10year old son was. I thought I sat down but my son says I flew myself on the sofa in a lying position and went "funny" he says my eyes were fixed at the top of my lids and my hands fingers were stretched out up near my face. He ran to get his dad who came down but I had come round . I knew what it was so I rang my consultant from previous tests (eeg,etc) and left a message. (I was discharged previous because no further episodes and tests inconclusive) I felt ok so I went out with hubby around an hour and half after 1st one, however in the car I got the whole da javu again and again and again in the car passing out each time. my hubby drove me to a&e and I was taken straight through, after 4 hours I was sent home and told that they will re write to my consultant saying I have had further episodes/ clusters, The a&e dr thinks it is "focal seizures"
Main symptoms /warnings are intense da javu, (different each time)overwhelming dread feeling, knowing I am going to drop, warm rush feeling to my right side and spreading to my chest. Having suffered 10 or so further episodes in front of nurses in a&e whilst hooked up for pulse, heart rate and blood pressure, there was no change in the readings before the episodes but during the episodes my heart rate drops down to about 35. But returns to normal as it ends. When it happens I know im going to pass out again because I say "its coming" because I get this rush, dread felling mostly after da javu. However this time I did wet myself and bit my cheek (never done this before) Also some episodes felt like I was conscious some fet like I had awaken from a deep sleep! DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR TO ANYONE, IF FOCAL SEIZURES DIAGNOSED AND OFFERED MEDS THAT I TAKE HOW LONG BEFORE I CAN DRIVE AGAIN? Thanks, great site too.

Submitted by lisa jenkinson on

Dear Lisa

Thank you for your comment.

There are many symptoms of epilepsy. What someone experiences depends on where in the brain the activity starts. For example the symptoms you’ve described generally happen when the activity is in the temporal lobe area of the brain. This would be known as temporal lobe epilepsy. 

For some people their focal seizures can spread to both halves of their brain and they can then have a tonic-clonic seizure. Some people call their focal activity just before a tonic clonic seizure an aura or warning. As you found out when you were with your son, the warning (focal seizure) can be very useful, as it may give you time to get to a place of safety, or to alert someone else that you are going to have a seizure.

When someone's consciousness is affected when they have a seizures, they generally have to stop driving until they are 12 months seizure free. You may wish to visit our driving webpages that have information about driving for people with epilepsy in the UK. It covers the rules for holding a driving licence, how to inform the DVLA in your change of health and it explains how the agencies that issue driving licences work.

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Does anyone have a throbbing in front of a head or like a headache really cold sensation in head? I have had these for a while now. I am on tegretrol 300 mg x 2 I am convinced this might be all to do with my epilepsy which has been generally controlled for a good 17 years. I am wondering if this is like a fit but obviously I don't go into a full fit. I have had an aura a couple of times also. It does seem to be worse when I go into somewhere there is a lot of light or a concerts. Is this my epilepsy or something else. I am going for a ct scan which I am hoping will shed some light on it.

Submitted by Antony on


Living with headaches or head pain must be so distressing.  Your symptoms don’t sound typical of epilepsy, this doesn’t mean it can’t be related to your epilepsy.

Everyone’s epilepsy and what they experience is individual to them. I hope the doctors are able to diagnose the cause of your symptoms quickly.

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hiya my name is Katrina I have Prader Willi Syndrome I'm 28 years old. Doing well controlling my weight I'm only 7 stone. Anyways when I was 12 collasped after my dog bit me, than again when i was 18 that ended up in the back of the ambulance after getting an almighty pain in my tummy, before I flaked out i saw white globe in the sky. That morning I did take a tablet because I was constipated. I tried to go out the room I body would not move instead I fell on my back head my head on the way down and was jerking, When I was 21 I was diagnosed with having borderline epilepsy, I refused the tablet incase it effected my prader willi by gaining weight. My symptoms if im walking leg suddenly jerk, or I nearly fall back overs I pull a muscle in my leg. In the car my mum noticed one minute im looking at the phone than my eyes close and open them I do couple of times. I have headaches, noise senstivity, Heat intolerence, I have pounding in my left ear. I hear things like my name been called there's no one there. I can;'t listen to three people at once my head spins. I have this strange feeling that comes over me which makes me go and sit down than I end up going to sleep very early. I have felt down the stairs once not remembering what happened, I felt on my knees once, not knowing what happened. I have bruises which i cant remember getting them. The dentsit I grind my teeth. I stare like I'm not all there, it takes three atempts to wake me up. I switch off realize where iam I start to panic. In a middle of the converstation with my dad, I had this rising feeling in my tummy, hit my throat I couldnt breathe I started to panic, I thought my dad was shouting at me, but he wasnt just his voice sounded really funny this mades me cry my memories or coming back. I this could well be simple parital complex partail just like what the doctor said. I havent had it so bad until this year, get too many lately all my bloods came back normal. Pains, headaches, cramps in my feet, I walk like im drunk after seeing a movie at the pictures.

Submitted by katrina Jane Hardy on

Hi Katrina

It sounds like you’re dealing with a lot of difficult things. You might want to make sure you write down when you have these episodes. We have a seizure diary which could help with this. 

If the episodes do increase, you may decide to think again about epilepsy medicine. And then the diary would be useful to show the doctor what has been happening for you.

There is only one epilepsy medicine which has a clear side-effect of weight gain. So there are many others to choose from.

I hope this is useful information for you.


Advice and Information team

Submitted by Cherry on

Hi I was at work a few weeks ago sorting some parts for quality control and suddenly realised i was just blankly staring at them in a detached sort of way and had no idea weather I had miss sorted or not .I tried to focus on my task but could not. a collogue told me later that this had occurred before and had put it down to tiredness also I had over a few weeks been making some glaring errors that when shown I had seen immediately and at some considerable distance.I was convinced I was a victim of some perverse practical joke of someone wanted rid of me.
That afternoon I attended my GP and was sent to A&E. I am awaiting an appointment with a neurologist.
With time on my hands,as i cannot perform my job at the moment I have been going back to see if there are any clues to what is happening.and have come up with 2 lists 1 Currant and 2 Past
1)Intermittent lapses of concentration, Inability to articulate without loosing the thread of the conversation, stumbling over words ,when typing, missing out letters/words or occasionally whole sentences, I also get,headaches that seem to be in the centre of my head before October I have not experienced one for 40 years since my teens, also a few weeks ago I experienced what i can only describe as an audio nightmare I was asleep when a very loud screeching sound manifested within my head it was like something out of a horror film I remember having to force my self awake it was very disconcerting I lay awake for a couple of minutes and went back to sleep almost immediately it occurred again after that I stayed awake and watched TV I have had no occurrence
2) feeling shaky with profuse sweating ,confusion, intense feelings of ,deja vous enhanced sexual appetite recurrent dreams and occasionally a feeling that some cold liquid is trickling over my brain and down my neck
IN writing this I have his over 30 wrong letters missed 12 spaces used the spell checker constantly these are approximately 10 times my normal errors PSI am only a two finger typist so its not because I am rushing. would appreciate your opinion and advice as hither too I have been lucky health wise so am finding my condition a bit disconcerting


Submitted by Peter on

Hi Pete

It sounds like your recent symptoms are really worrying you and have been quite frightening at times.

The fact that you have already discussed your concerns with your family doctor and are waiting to see a neurologist is positive.

It is not possible for us to diagnose what is going on for you. There are a number of medical conditions that can cause symptoms similar to epilepsy. This can make epilepsy difficult to diagnose.

It would be a good idea to make a note of all the symptoms you are having. Perhaps you can keep a diary of when and how things happen. This will help your neurologist when making a diagnosis.

Here is our information about diagnosing epilepsy.

If we can be of any more help please feel free to contact us again either by email or the epilepsy helpline freephone number 0808 800 5050

Kind regards


Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Vicky on

One of the most worrying aspects I have found about having epilepsy is feeling that you are experiencing things that no one else can possibly understand. Trying to explain to others what is going on inside your head and the effects of any type of seizure on behaviour and perception is almost impossible unless they themselves have suffered a seizure. Your 'Comments' column is great as it helps to lessen the feeling of isolation by bringing together people who are going through the same things as each other. Reading that some people feel as if they are in a 'dream' or detached matches my own sensations as I sometimes feel as if I am on the outside of an activity looking in, almost as if I am floating above it yet can't get involved. When I start to regain control I am convinced that my husband is annoyed with me as he seems to be snapping or shouting yet others around tell me that he is calm and gentle and I am the one who is angry. I am told that my partial seizures do not cause headaches yet the headaches regularly follow a seizure and I end up feeling exhausted. I have had epilepsy for almost 40 years now (I started during my late teens) and If I were asked what I do to help it would be make sure those around you know you may have seizures and how they should react if you do.

Submitted by Ann on

Hi there, my 5 year old son gets a seizure every time after complaining about a headache. EEG, lumber puncher, cat scan have been done but all came out negative.

Submitted by Silvia on

Am I epileptic?

When I am driving, occasionally, when sunlight filters thought the trees the light causes me to twitch me head to the side (always the left) and I see a flash of images while my eyes are closed. All this happens In a matter of milliseconds. I also used to get a similar reaction to an old television we used to have.

Even more rarely I can get feelings of daja vu, we're I feel I have either dreamt a situation or feel it has happened before.



Submitted by Alex on

Dear Alex

Diagnosing epilepsy can be a complex thing. The things you describe could be experienced by someone with epilepsy.

If you do have epilepsy then this could have an effect on your ability to drive safely. So it would be important to speak to your family doctor about this.


Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry on

I'm lossing hours of the day. I will be on the sofa then the next thing I know I'm somewhere different. I ended up out in the woods today with no recallection of how I got their. I have been diagnosed with tbi from a head injury at work. I have a lot of confusion as well. Just kinda feeling lost

Submitted by v on


These episodes must be confusing and worrying events. It is possible during a focal seizure for some people to wander or do things they are not aware of.  As this is a new symptom for you and to get a definite diagnosis, we suggest you talk to your doctor about it.


Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hi, 3 years back I was having breakfast & suddenly started feeling sick. I called my mom & didn't remember passing out & woke up to find my mom splashing water on my face. I underwent EEG, CT Scan & an array of blood tests after which our family doctor put it down to my low Hb level. Last night I had churning feeling in my stomach & was also feeling nauseous. The last thing I remember is going to the toilet & feeling dizzy, I woke up to find myself sprawled on the bathroom floor & for a few moments I couldn't recollect where I was. I have consulted a different doctor & he thinks I might be suffering from focal epilepsy. Please advise.

Submitted by Joyee on

Hi Joyee

The symptoms you’ve described could be epilepsy. If you haven’t already you may wish to view our information on focal seizures. In these seizures the epileptic activity starts in just a part of your brain. You may remain alert during this type of seizure, or you may not be aware of what is happening. You may have movements that you can’t control, or unusual sensations or feelings.

Focal seizures can be very brief or last for minutes. Sometimes, epileptic activity starts as a focal seizure, spreads to the rest of your brain and becomes a generalised seizure. Generalised seizures are the ones most people associate with epilepsy. These seizures involve epileptic activity in both hemispheres (halves) of your brain. You usually lose consciousness during this type of seizure, The muscles in your body may stiffen and/or jerk. You may fall down.

It’s not unusual for epilepsy not to be diagnosed when a person goes to the doctors the first time. This is mainly because there could be other reasons for their symptoms. Epilepsy is general diagnosed when a person has had a second or more episodes. Epilepsy means a person has a tendency to have seizures.

You may wish to view our information on treating epilepsy with epilepsy medicine.

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email helpline@epilepsy.org.uk or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.


Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

I'm 18 and currently attend college, I have to catch the bus there as I don't have a driving license, but recently I have been reacting to the flickering sunlight as it passes the trees and buildings. These reactions usually consist of my shoulders jolting forward and the feeling of drifting in and out of consciousness (very brief) around this time, I also find it increasingly difficult to look at anything far away from me (usually anything more than a foot or so away) if I do look, then things seem slightly out of focus and it's difficult telling what is going on around me as though I'm not aware if it's reality or not, I am, however, very aware of what is happening to me and the symptoms. These only occur in the natural sunlight, I have also caught the bus to school for 5 years previous and it's never been a problem. My major concern is that I have no one there to inform if something should happen, also I was wondering if something like this could develop so I would react to artificial light, this is something of a concern as I am studying creative media - film production. I have spoken to family members and friends about these recent episodes and they don't seem too concerned and believed that epilepsy is something you're born with, so if this was the case, I would have known from an early age. I have anxiety issues and find it difficult going anywhere on my own, especially to things like doctors and optician appointments which is why I always bring my mum along with me, but she pretty much expressed that she isn't concerned about it.

Kind regards,

Submitted by Gemma Billingham on

Hi Gemma

Epilepsy can happen to anyone at any age. Photosensitive epilepsy, the type in which people can have seizures triggered by various patterns of light, usually develops before the age of 20. You might find it helpful to read more about photosensitive epilepsy, and what kind of things may trigger seizures. There’s also some advice about reducing the risk of seizures if you have photosensitive epilepsy.

As you are having these unusual experiences, it really is advisable to discuss this with your own family doctor. They can investigate the possible causes. If they think it may be connected to epilepsy, they will usually refer you to an epilepsy specialist, who will carry out further investigations and tests. Or, your GP may have some other ideas about what may be causing your symptoms.

Best wishes


Advice and Information Team

Submitted by amanda on

Hi, my name is Alex and I am a 25 year old male. I have during the past year/months started having some kind of strange attacks. It starts with a strange feeling that something is wrong, usually accompanied by a taste/smell of blood. After that I feel a tingling sensation in the head and that's when it gets weird. It feels like I enter some kind of dream world, my vision becomes blurred, the world seems slightly distorted (especielly depth perception and shape of objects) + i see lots of flashing dots everywhere. This can lasts for up to several minutes, during which I usually become numb, but can feel very bad muscle tension followed by immediate relaxation. After this episode follows a terrible headache and increase in neuropathic pain (I suffer periphereal neuropathy).

These attacks can happen at any time during the day. They make absolutely no sense. They can happen when I am trying to excercise or when watching tv, while working or while at home. It has gotten so bad I am bed ridden with dizzyness most of the day + I seem to suffer memory loss, but I do not know if this is because of my meds (I take 4800mg gabapentin daily for the pain). So I have decided to see a doctor and he has ordered a CT scan.

While I wait for the scan, does it sound like I have epilepsy? And is a CT scan with contrast the normal way to diagnose it?

Submitted by Alexander on

Dear Alex

It sounds like you’re having a bad time with your health.

Here is all our information about diagnosing epilepsy. We aren’t medically trained and wouldn’t be able to diagnose you. A CT is one of the possible tests which help a doctor to diagnose epilepsy. Here is some information about a CT with contrast. As you can see, the dye helps to distinguish blood vessels from other structures in your brain.

If the doctors think there is a possibility you have epilepsy they are likely to do an EEG as well.

As you will see from our information, there are very many different seizure types. Your experience does not immediately fit any one type. But it is good that it is being investigated.

I do hope you get some answers soon.

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry on

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