Grand Mal Seizures
Grand mal seizures are those that are characteristic of epilepsy in everyone's mind. Immediately prior to the seizure, the patient may have some indication that a seizure is immanent. This feeling is called an aura. Very soon after he has the aura the patient will lapse into unconsciousness and experience generalized muscle contractions that may distort the body position; these are clonic seizures. The thrashing movements of the limbs that ensue in a short time are caused by opposing sets of muscles alternating in contractions (hence, the other name for grand mal seizures: tonic-clonic seizures). The patient may also lose control of the bladder. When the seizures cease, usually after three to five minutes, the patient may remain unconscious for up to half an hour. Upon awakening, the patient may not remember having had a seizure and may be confused for a time.