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How Long Does The Grand Mal Seizure Last?

Understanding about grand mal seizure will be of immense help in attending to the needful or taking the precautions in the initial stages. By definition, grand mal seizure is a tonic-clonic generalized seizure that puts an individual into unconscious state along with contraction of the muscular structure. The body becomes rigid making it difficult to have any moment during the episode.

How Long Does The Grand Mal Seizure Last?

The Reason behind the Occurrence of Grand Mal Seizure

The reason why grand mal seizure attacks an individual is due to the abnormal activity of electrical signals produced in the brain. According to scientists, the major role player for the occurrence is epilepsy and the majority cases that doctors attend to have the same. Nonetheless, people that do not have any medical history of epilepsy are also prone to grand mal seizure due to other health illnesses such as high fever, low blood sugar, and stroke.

According to circumstances in several cases, there is a possibility for an individual not to have another attack of grand mal seizure. Nonetheless, some patients require regular use of anti-seizure medications depending on the health conditions and prevent the repetitive action in the future.

How Long Does The Grand Mal Seizure Last?

Grand mal seizure occurs into different categories:

  1. Tonic Phase: Tonic Phase of Grand Mal seizure remains for a maximum period of 20 seconds. During this time, due to the contraction of muscles and loss of consciousness, the individual falls immediately.
  2. Clonic Phase: Clonic Phase of Grand mal seizure can remain to a maximum of 2 minutes. Within this period, the individual displays alternating contraction of the muscles. At the end of the attack, the individual feels weak and timid.

As it is difficult to state the underlying reason for the occurrence of the disease, the following signs and symptoms are useful in pointing a seizure as grand mal attack. Note that not all the symptoms may occur in every individual because the triggering point differs from one individual to other.

  • There will be a sudden change in the atmosphere experienced by the individual. For instance, he/she will feel a change in the smell or taste, which is a warning that the person is about to enter the state of grand mal seizure. Nevertheless, the situation varies from one to another.
  • Few people scream out loud to let out air because the attack squeezes the muscles around the vocal cord.
  • There will be no control over bladder and bowel movements. It will further lead to complications in people who are already experiencing other health ailments.
  • Although grand mal seizure lasts for a maximum of two minutes, the individual can remain in an unconsciousness state for several minutes. After regaining consciousness, they do not remember what happened and enter into the postictal confusion.
  • Although not universal, many individuals feel a severe headache and sleepiness.

How to Detect Grand Mal Seizure?

Diagnosing and tests will be helpful in recognizing grand mal seizure. The neurologist will ask questions related to the seizure attack in detail. As people who had the seizure attack do not remember the incident, the doctor will seek the description of the event from those who witnessed the accident. In many of the cases, neurologists proceed ahead with tests such as:

  1. Muscle Condition Test:

    • Reflexes
    • Muscle tone
    • Sensory function
    • Muscle strength
  2. Motor Symptoms Test:

    Additional to these, the doctor will also ask questions pertaining to assessment, judgment, memory, and thinking. All these will provide information and helps in offering the required treatment for grand mal seizure.


  1. Epilepsy Foundation – Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures
  2. Mayo Clinic – Grand Mal Seizures
  3. Healthline – Grand Mal Seizures (Tonic-Clonic Seizures): Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
  4. WebMD – Understanding Grand Mal Seizures
  5. Neurology Advisor – Tonic-Clonic Seizures (Grand Mal Seizures)

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 16, 2024

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