Causes of Seizures

Simple Causes: There are some simple conditions that can cause seizures or seizure-like movements:

Brain Causes of Generalized Seizures: Although epilepsy is well-known for causing generalized (tonic-clonic) seizures, there are a variety of causes of fits and full seizures. Many of these causes are very serious:

Other Major Causes of Seizures: Problems in other organs of the body can result in effects on the brain that are severe enough to cause seizures:

Substance-Related Causes: Various drugs, medications and substances can affect the brain, causing generalized seizures:

  • Alcohol Withdrawal (Delirium Tremens)
  • Barbiturate withdrawal
  • Cocaine abuse
  • Lead poisoning
  • Arsenic poisoning
  • Drug side-effects
  • Drug interactions
  • Contrast agent side-effects (diagnostic tests)
  • Vaccination side-effect. Modern vaccines are much less likely to cause a reaction.

Absence Seizures: Mental seizures where a child may “stare into space” or become non-responsive, are called absence seizures. They are often mistaken for inattention, such as inattentive-type ADHD. Causes may include:

  • Epilepsy (certain types)
  • Absence status

Other Notable Syndromes: There are a few disorders that don’t really cause “seizures” as such, but can cause some effects or motor disorders that are similar or related.

Similar Symptoms: See also the causes of symptoms similar to seizures, such as:

Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.