The children and young people's epilepsy charity
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Helpline: 01342 831342 (Mon-Fri, 9am-3pm)

Tonic clonic seizures

Tonic clonic seizures are what most people think of when they hear the word epilepsy. They used to be referred to as 'grand mal' seizures.

The seizure starts with the tonic phase, where the person cries out or groans as air is forced out of the lungs. The person then becomes stiff and falls to the ground unconscious.

The clonic phase follows where the person's limbs begin to jerk. After a few minutes, the jerking slows and stops.

After the seizure (usually around 1 - 3 minutes), the person may be drowsy, confused, agitated and need to sleep.

If the tonic-clonic seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, emergency medication must be administered.

Emergency medication

Most seizures stop by themselves, but however sometimes a medical emergency does occur.

Find out how to administer emergency medication

Helpline: 01342 831342 (Mon-Fri, 9am-3pm)
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Cyber EssentialsFundraising RegulatorYoung Epilepsy is the operating name of The National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy (NCYPE).
Registered Charity number 311877 (England and Wales)

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