Difference Between Seizure and Unconsciousness

Passing out during a seizure can happen to some people, which can make distinguishing between the two conditions difficult. Seizures, usually referred to as convulsions, are sudden, uncontrolled electrical abnormalities in the brain. In contrast, when someone is unconscious, they have completely lost consciousness, as happens during profound slumber or a coma. The following topics will go into the comparison between unconsciousness and seizures.

What is Seizure?

The abnormal electrical impulses in the brain's cortex cause the strange behaviour known as a seizure.

  • Symptoms − Twitching and other uncontrollable action of the limbs and body, mental confusion, a loss of consciousness and awareness, and a fixed stare are only few of the symptoms that can accompany seizures. Sometimes, incontinence can occur after a seizure that lasts up to two minutes.

  • Diagnosis − Diagnosis can be aided by a physical examination and by documenting the symptoms during a seizure. An electroencephalogram (EEG) records and analyses brain electrical activity. One of the best non-invasive tests for epilepsy. The doctor often does what is called a "neurological exam," in which he or she examines several aspects of our nervous system. When an infection of the brain is suspected, a lumbar puncture may also be performed. Seizures may be caused by tumours or bleeding in the brain, both of which can be detected using a CT scan or MRI.

  • Causes − Seizures can happen for a variety of causes, including but not limited to the following: brain damage, brain tumours, brain infections, neurological disorders including epilepsy, substance addiction, alcohol withdrawal, and heredity.

  • Risk factors and treatment − Risk factors for seizures include substance misuse, brain injury, and a family history of the disorder. Perhaps treating the underlying cause. Topiramate, pregabalin, carbamezapine, and gabapentin are only some of the drugs that can be utilised. Depending on the age of the patient and the kind of seizure, different anti-seizure drugs may be effective.

What is Unconsciousness?

A person is considered biologically unconscious if he or she has lost awareness and is insensitive to external stimuli such as pressure or loud sounds. It's as if he's in a coma or he's been medicated and is sleeping the sleep of the faint. Dizziness, bewilderment, a racing heart, a weak pulse, and slurred speech are some of the warning indications that someone is ready to pass out. This can last for a few seconds, as in the case of a seizure, or for months, as in the case of a coma.

Blood loss, trauma to the head or chest, drug overdose, seizure, low blood sugar level, low blood pressure, lack of blood supply to the brain, stroke, and dehydration are all typical causes of temporary unconsciousness. If someone has lost consciousness, you should check their breathing and then contact 911 and begin CPR if necessary. Assuming he is still alive, lay him on his back with his legs propped up at least a foot off the ground. Check his airway for restriction by loosening his garments. After one minute, if he's still unresponsive, call emergency services.

Differences: Seizure and being Unconsciousness

The following table highlights the major differences between Seizure and being Unconscious −





Seizures, often called convulsions, are abrupt, uncontrolled electrical disruptions in the brain.

It's safe to say that whether you're in a coma or a deep slumber, you're unconscious.


To name just a few, epilepsy, fever, low blood sugar, brain injury, congenital issues, medication withdrawal, brain infection, and parasite infections all rank among the causes of seizures.

General anaesthesia, blood loss, trauma to the head or chest, drug overdose, seizure, hypoglycemia, hypotension, lack of blood supply to the brain, stroke, and dehydration are all potential causes of unconsciousness.


Known subtypes of seizures include focal and generalized seizures.

There is no precise classification system for being unconscious.


The average duration of a seizure is between 30 seconds and two minutes.

Unconsciousness can last anywhere from a few seconds to several months.

First Aid

As quickly as possible, place the person on his side, avoid restraint, release anything around his neck, clear the space around him, and contact 911 if the seizure lasts more than five minutes.

A person who has lost consciousness should first be checked for breathing; if he is, he should be placed on his back with his legs elevated at least a foot off the floor.

Check his airway for restriction by loosening his garments. After one minute, if he's still unresponsive, call emergency services. Call 911 and begin chest compressions if the victim is not breathing.


Seizure and unconsciousness are two distinct medical conditions that have different causes, symptoms, and consequences. Understanding the key differences between these two conditions is important for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. It is also important to remember that both seizures and unconsciousness can be serious medical conditions that require prompt attention.

If you or someone you know experiences symptoms of either condition, it is important to seek medical help right away.

Updated on: 19-Apr-2023


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