Convulsions

Convulsions are nonvoluntary contractions (single or in a series) of the voluntary muscles caused by sudden uncontrolled changes in the electrical activity of the brain.

Convulsion symptoms may be mild, characterized only by slight muscle twitches and tingling, or violent and severe, characterized by jerking whole-body movements and accompanying intense feelings of fear, possible hallucinations, and sometimes a lapse of consciousness (a grand mal seizure). Seizures that reoccur are called epilepsy.

What To Consider

Important If you or your loved ones are experiencing convulsions, seek immediate medical attention.

Convulsions or seizures may be caused by many medical problems, including stroke, brain tumor, withdrawal from alcohol and drugs (including prescription drugs), metabolic disturbances, neurological disorders, and trauma from head injury. All such factors must be ruled out or addressed before convulsive tendencies can be properly treated.

Febrile seizures (twitching, jerking convulsion associated with loss of consciousness in a child with a rapidly rising fever and often due to infections such as middle ear or tonsillitis) are a type of convulsion that is common in children between six months and five years old and tend to run in families. They are usually not serious, even though they are frightening, and occur in one out of twenty children. For safety's sake, these too should be brought to the attention of your physician.

Self-Care Tips

Diet
Eat normal, well-balanced meals at regular intervals. Children who suffer from convulsions should not be allowed to eat large meals since these predispose toward seizures. Alcohol is totally contraindicated as is caffeine (cola drinks, coffee, tea, chocolate). Aspartame (NutraSweet) should also be avoided, as it has been implicated in some cases of seizure.

Nutritional Supplementation
There are multiple nutritional deficiencies that can contribute to seizures, including deficiencies of folic acid, niacin (vitamin B3), thiamine (vitamin B1), vitamin B6, vitamin D, copper, magnesium, manganese, and selenium. Some of these deficiencies may relate to anticonvulsant medication, while others may be related to the cause of the seizures themselves. People who suffer from convulsions should also have an amino acid blood screen. Supplementation with the amino acids taurine, dimethyl glycine, and/or DL-glutamic acid has been shown to beneficial, as have vitamin B6, magnesium, and manganese. Working with a qualified nutritionist is very important, however.

Note Omega-6 fatty acid supplementation can trigger or exacerbate convulsions caused by temporal lobe epilepsy. In addition, any supplementation program should only be undertaken with the awareness of the medical practitioner responsible for the care of the convulsive individual.

Aromatherapy
Chamomile, clary sage, lavender, and neroli can help produce calm effects.

Flower Essences
Rescue Remedy after seizure and for accompanying emotional/mental states.

Herbs
Asafetida, mugwort, skullcap, and valerian root can be helpful for inducing calm.

Homeopathy
Cuprum met., Belladonna, and Cicuta can help relieve symptoms and linger after effects of convulsion.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

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