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focal impaired awareness seizures

Previously called complex partial seizures.

Focal impaired awareness seizures (FIAS) affect a bigger part of one hemisphere (side) of the brain than focal aware seizures.

The person’s consciousness is affected and they may be confused. They might be able to hear you, but not fully understand what you say or be able to respond to you. They may not react as they would normally. If you speak loudly to them, they may think you are being aggressive
and so they may react aggressively towards you.

FIAS often happen in the temporal lobes but can happen in other parts of the brain.

What is a focal impaired awareness seizure?

Watch this video to find out what it feels like to have a focal impaired awareness seizure. The person’s consciousness is affected and they may be confused.

Focal impaired awareness seizures that start in the temporal lobe may include:

  • picking up objects for no reason or fiddling with clothing
  • chewing or lip-smacking movements
  • muttering or repeating words that don't make sense 
  • wandering around in a confused way.

These seizures may last around two or three minutes.

Focal impaired awareness seizures that start in the frontal lobe may include:

  • making a loud cry or scream
  • making strange postures or movements such as cycling or kicking.

These seizures usually last around 15 - 30 seconds.

Focal impaired awareness seizures in the parietal or occipital lobes are less common than in the temporal or frontal lobes. Like the focal aware seizures, focal impaired awareness seizures in the parietal and occipital lobes can affect the person’s senses or vision. These seizures usually last around 15 - 30 seconds.

After a focal impaired awareness seizure, the person may be confused for a while, sometimes called 'post-ictal' (after seizure) confusion. It may be hard to tell when the seizure has ended. The person might be tired and want to rest. They may not remember the seizure afterwards.