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The most common symptoms of mild seizures are generally the same symptoms associated with more severe seizures. Seizures are typically perceived to be mild by a witness if the victim does not appear violently ill. Some of the most dramatic symptoms, like severe convulsions, are only associated with severe seizures, although convulsions can certainly be present across the spectrum. The more subtle symptoms, such as momentary loss of consciousness, are common to most different kinds of seizures.
Most seizures are considered to consist of three phases: warnings of a seizure, the seizure itself, and the post-seizure symptoms. Whether they range from mild to severe, seizures often have similar first and last stages. The kinds of symptoms experienced during the middle stage are typically what lead onlookers to judge whether or not a seizure is mild or severe.
The first phase may or may not alert the victim to any imminent threat of a seizure. Individuals are likely to feel strange, perhaps becoming disoriented or experiencing blurred or blacked out vision. Other warning signs of a seizure may include numbness or tingling of extremities, a strange taste in the mouth, or lightheadedness. These symptoms, which can sometimes go unnoticed, can be warnings for any severity of seizure, from mild to severe.
The middle stage of a seizure generally has the most diverse possible symptoms. Symptoms of mild seizures might involve temporary loss of vision or consciousness, confusion, staring blankly, difficulty with speech and comprehension, or fainting. Severe seizures can also manifest these symptoms, but may also result in convulsions, strange muscle ticks, involuntary jaw movements, or eyes rolling upwards, among others. The combination of symptoms are subject to variation. A person does not have to be wildly convulsing to be having a seizure; simply staring blankly into space or becoming otherwise unresponsive could be signs of mild seizures.
After experiencing a seizure, a person may not have any recollection of what occurred. Stage three symptoms of mild seizures might include head or body aches, nausea, confusion, or weakness. An instance of more severe seizure could result in these same symptoms as well as exhaustion and difficulty speaking.
It can be difficult to detect symptoms of mild seizures from the middle stage alone. For example, children often have mild seizures where the only symptom is staring blankly ahead for a few seconds. Knowing the warning and post-seizure signs are helpful in situations such as this, because they help to identify the certain subtle symptoms that indicate a mild seizure.