Phases of Seizures

The phases of a seizure are: aura, ictus, and postictal.


Vincent Buchinsky, “Illusion” presented at 1 in 26 The Art of Epilepsy exhibition in Boston, MA. With this work, Vincent explores how he experiences auras.

A sense of physical or emotional warning before a seizure that may affect a person with epilepsy. Here are a few common emotional and physical ways people experience auras:


  • Vision loss or blurring
  • Dark spots
  • Flickering lights or hallucinations
  • Ringing or buzzing sounds
  • Strange, offensive smells
  • Bitter, acidic taste
  • Nausea/stomachache
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Strong feelings of joy, sadness, fear, or anger


Linda Sudlesky, presented at 1 in 26 The Art of Epilepsy exhibition in Boston, MA. Linda’s statement through her art is that having epilepsy can be like being the passenger of a car speeding through a tunnel.

Another term for seizure. The two broad categories of seizures are generalized and focusedThe ictal phase manifests in unique ways for everyone with epilepsy. They may experience:


  • Confused, spacey looks
  • Out of body sensation
  • Repeated blinking eyes
  • Unable to move
  • Unable to speak/make garbled noises
  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Pale/flushed skin
  • Continuation of motions before seizure started
  • Memory lapses
  • Daydreaming
  • Distracted
  • Loss of hearing
  • Strange sounds
  • Loss of vision
  • Blurry, flashing vision
  • Chewing or lip-smacking
  • Dressing/undressing
  • Blackouts
  • Unconscious
  • Deja vu
  • Jamais vu
  • Tingling
  • Tremors
  • Twitching
  • Jerking movements
  • Detached
  • Numbness
  • Drooling
  • Electric shock
  • Walking/running
  • Dilated pupils
  • Difficulty breathing
  • heart racing
  • Slump or fall
  • Sweating


Nathan Plung 1 in 26

Nathan Plung, “Winston Churchill” presented at 1 in 26 The Art of Epilepsy exhibition in Boston. Nathan says that his fibercraft acts as a sort of meditation for him.

During the recovery period following a seizure, people still experience after-effects. In the postictal phase, a person with epilepsy may experience:


  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Hypertension
  • Memory loss
  • Frightened
  • Embarrassed
  • Frustrated
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty talking or writing
  • Head/Bodily injuries from fall such as broken bones, bruising, or cuts
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Thirsty
  • Body weakness
  • Loss of control of bladder or bowels/other bathroom issues

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