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Can Seizures Last for Hours?

Can Seizures Last for Hours?

Yes, seizures can last for hours but any type of seizure which lasts for more than 30 minutes will cause brain damage or even death. It is possible for an individual to recover from a seizure within an hour. An important aspect of the recovery is that it does not show any signs of side effects. Nonetheless, it is essential to understand about the symptoms that appear during the seizure of and how could they be of assistance after individual recovers from a seizure.

Can Seizures Last for Hours?

Three Phases of Seizure

Epileptic seizures occur in three phases – the preictal phase, the ictal phase, and the postictal phase. The preictal duration is the period that leads the individual to the attack phase. The ictal phase is the attack itself. The postictal phase is the duration after the occurrence of the seizure. It is possible for an individual to last in the postictal phase from a few seconds to several days. It all depends on the seizure that the individual experienced. The reason behind this is due to the presence of numerous types of symptoms associated with the period, notably the generalized seizure.

What Happens After A Seizure?

After the attack, the individual enters the postictal phase, where they become aware of their surroundings and come back to normalcy. It is possible for the individual to enter the state of confusion after this period. Additional symptoms include mood changes, dizziness, headache, feeling sick, and weakness. In such instances, it is preferable to allow the individual to have space and offer a comfortable resting position.

Even though the individual underwent the attack, they are still capable of answering/speaking in the postictal period. However, there will not be remembering what they experienced. There is likewise feasibility for the individual to perform complicated tasks such as undressing and going to bed, which they do not even remember. In some instances, people may appear different, strange, and do things that put them apart from others for a more extended period. Such a phase can continue for several days only when the severity of the seizure attacks is high.

Postictal Psychosis

After the attack, the occurrence of postictal psychosis is rare, and on occasion, about 18% of people with epilepsy show the signs. It occurs because the medication was incapable of controlling the disorder that the individual was possessing. The occurrence of the psychosis is common for people who experienced tonic-clonic seizures. Psychosis refers to the term when an individual enters into the virtual world. There is usually a recovery period called as the lucid phase during which the individual feels normal. It apparently lasts for six hours but can stretch up to a week. After the recovery, the individual experiences hallucinations. The delusions are often fearful and paranoid. If the severity of the seizure attack is high, one can expect the individual to possess the psychosis for more than three months. On an average, the situation can last anywhere between 6 or 10 days.

Postictal Paralysis

On a few occasions, people who underwent the trauma can experience paralysis for a short period. The occurrence can be in the form of weakness, loss of movement, and numbness. It occurs only on any one side of the body. The maximum length of the period is 48 hours. During this, the individual loses his or her speech, vision, and hearing abilities. They also experience temporary blindness and deafness.

For many individuals, it is necessary to remember that postictal phase passes smoothly without causing severe complications. If you should have any doubts related to the symptoms and their longevity, it is preferable to speak with the doctor, as they have a better idea about the recovery period is.


  1. Epilepsy Foundation. (n.d.). Seizure Phases and What to Do. https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/about-epilepsy-basics/what-happens-during-seizure/seizure-phases
  2. Trinka, E., & Brigo, F. (2007). Postictal Phenomena After Generalized Convulsive Seizures. Epileptic Disorders, 9(2), 134–141. https://doi.org/10.1684/epd.2007.0130
  3. Fisher, R. S., van Emde Boas, W., Blume, W., Elger, C., Genton, P., Lee, P., & Engel, J. (2005). Epileptic seizures and epilepsy: Definitions proposed by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE). Epilepsia, 46(4), 470–472. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0013-9580.2005.66104.x
  4. Gaspard, N., Hirsch, L. J., & LaRoche, S. (2013). The postictal state: a neglected entity in the management of epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior, 26(1), 3–8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2012.09.038
  5. Blum, D. E., & Eskola, J. (2019). Postictal symptoms aid the clinical diagnosis of seizures and predict postictal EEG suppression. Neurology, 93(19), e1811–e1819. https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000008361

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 8, 2023

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