Distinguishing between the two types of seizures is important--etiology will determine management and treatment decisions. A description of what happened before, during, and after the seizure, along with an EEG will help determine seizure type.
These seizures begin with widespread, excessive electrical discharge simultaneously involving both sides of the brain. For example, a full “grand mal” or brief staring episode.
These seizures begin with an abnormal electrical discharge restricted to one region of the brain. For example, a complex partial seizure.