A complex partial seizure is a seizure (uncontrolled electrical activity in one side of the brain) which results in an alteration in consciousness. During a complex partial seizure, the person cannot interact normally with other people, is not aware of his or her movements, and usually cannot remember afterward what occurred during the seizure.
A complex partial seizure typically begins with a blank stare and a loss of contact with surroundings. This is often followed by “automatisms” – mechanical, unfocused, repetitive behaviors such as chewing, swallowing, or picking at clothes. Speech, if it occurs, is unlikely to make sense and the patient will be unable to respond to others in a communicable way.
Because the person may still be able to perform routine tasks such as walking, the seizure may not always be noticeable to others. Complex partial seizures often last for two to four minutes, and they may be followed by a state of confusion lasting longer.
Complex partial seizures can usually be controlled with medications. In cases where the seizures cannot be controlled medically, surgical treatment may be recommended.
Electroencephalogram (EEG) test can help diagnose epilepsy and seizure related illnesses. To prepare for an EEG discuss the medications you are taking with your doctor. Wash hair the night before the test and do not use hair cream, oils or spray afterwards.