What Do Tonic Clonic Seizures Look Like?

What do tonic clonic seizures look like?


Tonic clonic seizures

Tonic-clonic seizures, better known as grand mal seizures, are the most noticeable type of epileptic seizures.

When you have this type, your body stiffens, jerks, and shakes, and you lose consciousness. Sometimes you lose control of your bladder or bowels.

They usually last 1 to 3 minutes, but if they go on longer, someone should call 911. These seizures follow a pattern:

  • Firstly, you seem to “check out.” You won’t answer if people talk to you. You won’t react if someone waves a hand in your face or shakes you. You may collapse.
  • Secondly, your muscles clench and become as stiff as a board. (This is the tonic phase. It lasts a few seconds.)
  • Next comes a series of jerking movements. (This is the clonic phase. It can last a few seconds or several minutes.)
  • Eventually, the jerking stops and you’re alert and can talk again, but you may be dazed or unsteady for a little while.


Keywords: tonic clonic seizure; tonic clonic seizures.



* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.