Dr. Richard Hamer, MD: Categorizing Different Types of Seizures

Seizures are typically a symptom of Epilepsy — a brain disorder that occurs when nerve cells in the brain starts to misfire. Some seizures are non-epileptic and may have been caused by psychological issues or stress. Unfortunately, MDs like Dr. Richard Hamer have witnessed patients who have experienced both forms of seizures affecting patients in their behavior and perception in a short time period of time. For those who have had a seizure, Dr. Richard Hamer can identify the different types of existing seizures.

There are varying types of seizures that can fall under one of two categories: Focal seizures or Generalized seizures. Some are not easy to classify as they may start as one type and transition to another. Nevertheless, Dr. Hamer describes the different types and its associated symptoms. As a neurologist, it is crucial for him to properly assess and diagnose the type of seizures patients have undergone in order to prescribe the right drug therapy, medication, diet and in special circumstances, surgery. Keep in mind, patients could experience more than one type of seizure.

Focal seizures affect approximately 60% of people diagnosed with epilepsy and can cause the individual to see, feel or hear things that aren’t there. Below are the types of seizures that can be categorized as a focal seizure

Simple Focal Seizures:

These seizures can make you smell or taste something strange. Individuals prone to this seizure might notice a twitch in their arms, fingers or legs. Though you’re not likely to lose consciousness, symptoms include dizziness, sweating and nausea. This type of seizure affects your senses and how you perceive the world around you.

Complex Focal Seizures:

Complex focal seizures affects the part of your brain that controls emotions and memory. Though you’re awake, you may lose consciousness and exhibit behaviour like crying, gagging, smacking your lips, laughing or crying.

Secondary Generalized Seizures:

These seizures start from one part of the brain, spreading to both sides and can cause symptoms similar to a generalized seizure, causing the individual to have convulsions or sudden slackness in the muscles.

Source: Purple Dash 5k for Epilepsy

Generalized Seizures occurs nerves misfire on both sides of the brain. Symptoms can appear in sporadic muscle spasms, a black-out, or a fall. There are 4 types of seizures that identify with generalized seizures:

Tonic-Clonic Seizures:

This type of seizure is the more noticeable kind. Your body stiffens, jerks, shakes and you can lose consciousness. Some lose their bladder or bowel control and can experience breathing problems or cause the individual to bite their tongue or cheek.

Clonic Seizures:

Individuals may experience muscle spasms which commonly occur in the face, neck or arm muscles, causing them to jerk rhythmically.

Tonic Seizures:

This seizure more commonly occurs during sleep — the muscles in the arms, legs or trunk have a tendency to tense up for less than 20 seconds.

Atonic Seizures:

With this seizure individuals might fall forward as their muscles suddenly turn limp and their head begins to lean forward. This usually lasts for less than 15 seconds, however some might experience this several times in a row.

Source: Clinical Gate

Neurologists like Dr. Richard Hamer can help to control seizures with proper treatment.

Having worked with patients who have suffered from seizures, Dr. Hamer understand the importance of well rounded support when treating the seizures. With his medical expertise he also likes to ensure patients receive psycho social and educational support to get through such an adverse condition.