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What Would Cause A Grand Mal Seizure?

Grand mal seizure falls into the category of generalized tonic-clonic seizure that features violent contractions of the muscular structure along with the loss of consciousness. It is one of the imaginary pictures that many people think about a seizure attack. The seizure attack is due to improper electrical activity produced in the brain. In many of the occasions, the reason behind the occurrence is epilepsy. However, there are also cases where individuals reported the existence of grand mal seizure due to other health problems such as high fever and low blood sugar. There are 2 phases of grand mal seizures

  1. Tonic Phase: During this phase, the individual heads into unconsciousness state and the muscular structure becomes rigid. The tonic phase can last up to a maximum of 20 seconds.
  2. Clonic Phase: In this phase, the individual experiences rhythmic contractions of the muscles, which undergoes both relaxing and flexing stages. The seizure can last between a few seconds to less than two minutes.

The following symptoms are some of the typical signs of the seizure. However, not all of the people display the same.

  • Aura: A few of them experience a change in the atmosphere before the attack. The difference acts as a warning sign and changes from one person to another. It is difficult to explain the feelings that the person undergoes during this stage.
  • Screaming: It is possible for a few people to scream out in the beginning due to the contraction of muscles around the vocal cords.
  • The person loses control over bladder and bowel movements.
  • The individual will remain in the state of unconsciousness for several minutes or to a maximum of an hour even after the attack came to a halt.
  • Due to unconsciousness, the individual remains in the state of confusion, and he/she may or may not be unaware of the surroundings or the situation.

What Would Cause A Grand Mal Seizure?

What Would Cause A Grand Mal Seizure?

The occurrence of grand mal seizure is the abnormally synchronized electrical activity across the entire surface of the brain. The nerve cells of the brain communicate with each other in the form of electrical and chemical signals using the synapses that connect every cell. People who have seizures possess altered electrical activity. The exact reason for the same is still unknown. Nonetheless, the cause for grand mal seizure in a few cases is due to several underlying health problems such as:

  1. Infection or Injuries

    1. Head injuries
    2. Brain infections such as meningitis
    3. An injury caused due to lack of oxygen
    4. Stroke
  2. Developmental Abnormalities

    1. Blood vessel malfunctioning in the brain
    2. Genetic syndromes
    3. Brain tumors
  3. Metabolic Disturbances

    1. Low levels of sodium, magnesium, glucose, and calcium
  4. Withdrawal Syndromes

    1. Withdrawing from alcohol and or drugs.

    If you happen to come across an individual undergoing a grand mal seizure, you can call for immediate assistance. Secondly, roll the individual on the one side and offer cushioning to the head. The position will also help in bringing out the fluid which prevents from panting for breath. Do not hold the individual tightly and wait for the episode to complete its phase. If it is possible, calculate the length of the seizure attack.

    As you now possess all the knowledge related to grand mal seizure, make the best use of it when you happen to come across an individual during the attack. Additionally, the information will also be helpful for you access the condition and guarantee that there are no signs/symptoms that may or may not trouble you in future.


  1. “Tonic-Clonic Seizures (Grand Mal Seizures)” – Epilepsy Foundation Information: https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/types-seizures/tonic-clonic-seizures

  2. “Epileptic Seizures: What You Need to Know” – WebMD Article: https://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/guide/epileptic-seizures#2

  3. “Generalized Seizures: Tonic-Clonic (Grand Mal) Seizures” – Johns Hopkins Medicine Information: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/epilepsy/generalized-seizures-tonic-clonic-grand-mal-seizures

  4. “Grand Mal Seizures (Tonic-Clonic Seizures)” – Healthline Article: https://www.healthline.com/health/tonic-clonic-seizures-grand-mal

  5. “Seizures and Epilepsy” – National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Information: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Seizures-and-Epilepsy-Information-Page

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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:August 11, 2023

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