Epilepsy auras

An 'aura' is the term that some people use to describe the warning they feel before they have a tonic clonic seizure. An epilepsy 'aura' is in fact a focal aware seizure.

Focal aware seizures (FAS) are sometimes called ‘warnings’ or ‘auras’ because, for some people, a FAS develops into another type of seizure. The FAS is therefore sometimes a warning that another seizure will happen (see focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures).

Some people may describe their auras as:

• a ‘rising’ feeling in the stomach or déjà vu (feeling like you’ve ‘been here before’);

• getting an unusual smell or taste;

• a sudden intense feeling of fear or joy;

• a strange feeling like a ‘wave’ going through the head;

• stiffness or twitching in part of the body, (such as an arm or hand);

• a feeling of numbness or tingling;

• a sensation that an arm or leg feels bigger or smaller than it actually is; or

• visual disturbances such as coloured or flashing lights or hallucinations (seeing something that isn’t actually there).

Information produced: November 2017

Epileptic seizures

There are many different types of epileptic seizure. Any of us could potentially have a single epileptic seizure at some point in our lives. This is not the same as having epilepsy, which is a tendency to have seizures that start in the brain. 

Seizures leaflet

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