Epilepsy Talk

Head Injury and Seizures | July 22, 2010

How many of you have had a car accident…an abrupt fall…a physical assault?  If you are one of those people and you have suffered a head injury, the probability of seizure activity increases dramatically…

This information comes from the brain injury website: a medical, legal and informational resource for people dealing with traumatic head injury…and subsequent seizures.

Seizures may develop immediately after an injury to the brain or may develop in delayed fashion, showing up months or years after the initial trauma. Generally speaking, the risk of post traumatic seizures is related to the severity of the injury — the greater the injury, the higher the risk of developing seizures. Even mild to moderate injuries can result in seizures.

There are many kinds of seizures and seizures are not an uncommon condition among persons without head injuries. It is thought that a head injury disrupts the pathways of the brain and that an epileptic seizure can be viewed as a sort of short-circuit of the brain’s electrical functioning. During the seizure the electrical fields in the brain are overloaded, resulting in seizures.

The most commonly seen seizures related to traumatic brain injury are “generalized” seizures, which are also called “Tonic-Clonic” or “Grand Mal” seizures.

Persons who have had head trauma are twelve times as likely as the general population to suffer seizures.

Approximately 57% of head injured individuals developed epilepsy within one-year of injury. Longer onset epilepsy beginning more than four years after the trauma occurs in 20% of patients who developed epilepsy.

It is estimated that 30% of all individuals suffering head trauma developed post-traumatic seizures and 80% of the time they occur within the first 24-months.”

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  1. I have not had head injuries that you describe. Would that include seizures when I fall down on the ground and hit my head?


    Comment by Ruth Brown — July 24, 2010 @ 9:40 AM

  2. i don’t think so…


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 24, 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  3. “Approximately 57% of head injured individuals developed epilepsy within one-year of injury.”
    – I’m one of them! _ Keep up the fund raising!


    Comment by Stephen — October 19, 2010 @ 5:53 PM

    • Oh Stephen, my heart goes out to you. How bad are your seizures?


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 19, 2010 @ 6:33 PM

      • Fortunately mind stopped 12 years ago, but I did undergo a hell of a lot of different types and dosages to get it under control.
        How about you? Hope you are on the mend!


        Comment by Stephen — October 19, 2010 @ 7:29 PM

  4. Yeah, it’s always like a crap shoot with all those AEDs out there. I’ve had epilepsy for 40+ years and when I was first diagnosed (back in the dark ages, when I was a teen) there was dilantin and pheno, period. Not a terrific choice.

    My seizures are now under control, thanks to Lamictal and Klonopin, but it’s been a loooong journey.

    What do you attribute to your seizures going away? Do you think your brain “mended?


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 19, 2010 @ 7:54 PM

    • Has my brain mended yet – some times…
      and I don’t mean on cold days it doesn’t.
      It’s my memory has a mind of it’s own, and my dyspraxia is a right challenge.

      And how about you!


      Comment by Stephen — October 21, 2010 @ 3:51 PM

  5. Hi Phylis
    I’m happy to see you are like me on the medically controlled state. I must have had more pantic attaches along with seizures whilst waiting for the miracle medicine to arrive.
    I take Tegretol Retard (Geigy) and I’m on 1200mg a day.

    I have just started a website of my own, hoping to help others and tell my story, along side provide links and pit falls.


    Can I add you to my links page?
    I think if I add as many links out there people will realise they aren’t on there own.

    Kind regards


    Comment by Stephen — October 21, 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  6. Ps Feel free to add comments – No one has yet!


    Comment by Stephen — October 21, 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  7. hi, my seizures started 3 months after head injury in a car accident i had,and my doc said in most cases of head injuries, seiz start within one or two year.
    they are classically tonic-clonic , and sometimes they are just partials with no further progression.


    Comment by Reem — October 21, 2010 @ 9:44 PM

  8. Hi Reem,

    Take a look at the link I just sent Stephen, it’s from Brain Injury.com — a really good site:



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 21, 2010 @ 10:36 PM

  9. thanks Phylis for the link.. i hope all is good with you 🙂


    Comment by Reem — October 22, 2010 @ 12:01 AM

  10. Hi Phylis,
    Just a quick email as laws in the UK have just changed when being interviewed. (People aren’t supposed to ask us if we have been in hospital recently of have had and serious type of injury or disability).. as this has been the most recent case and proven to be a pain when appyying for work…
    Are there any simular cases in Pennsylvania or the States in General?


    Comment by Stephen — October 24, 2010 @ 4:20 PM

  11. Well, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/ADAregs2010.htm is supposed to PROTECT us, but many employers REQUEST a medical report or doctor’s note BEFORE hiring. There is all sorts of subtle discrimination, despite the good intentions of the act.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 25, 2010 @ 12:46 AM

  12. Study Bolsters Link Between Routine Hits and Brain Disease

    The growing evidence of a link between head trauma and long-term, degenerative brain disease was amplified in an extensive study of athletes, military veterans and others who absorbed repeated hits to the head, according to new findings published in the scientific journal Brain.

    The study, which included brain samples taken posthumously from 85 people who had histories of repeated mild traumatic brain injury, added to the mounting body of research revealing the possible consequences of routine hits to the head in sports like football and hockey. The possibility that such mild head trauma could result in long-term cognitive impairment has come to vex sports officials, team doctors, athletes and parents in recent years….



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — December 3, 2012 @ 11:44 AM

  13. […] information though. Take a look at this link and also through some other posts on this site. https://epilepsytalk.com/2010/07/22/h…-and-seizures/ I have complex partial seizures but there are many different types of seizures and for some of the […]


    Pingback by Newly Diagnosed - Epilepsy Forum — June 30, 2013 @ 9:42 AM

  14. I had two car accidents within 2.5 months of each other–while working. I (am still considered an employee while going through the workers comp system of appeals) a social worker for my states child protection services. I have had my entire life change from all this. Epilepsy is scary. I have recently begun suffering Todd’s paralysis after particarly significant seizures. I have complex partial seizures and am on nearly a pharmacy full of meds to try to control them. But next week I go to a hospital to see if there is more that can be done. Because I am 97 days shy of 30. Too young many say to live like this. And I agree.


    Comment by Sarah — September 4, 2013 @ 1:51 PM

  15. So your paraylis happens in the aftermath of a seizure?

    Do you think it might be sheer terror?

    Putting a slew of band-aids on a problem does NOT make it go away!

    I definitely agree that you must find a new neuro for testing, evaluation and diagnosis.



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 4, 2013 @ 7:27 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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