Patient Information Seizure

Cork Emergency Departments

What is a seizure?

A seizure occurs when there is an abnormal discharge of electrical activity in the brain. This can cause you to lose consciousness and cause your limbs to jerk or shake. In some cases people suffer from a form of seizure where they appear to go 'vacant' for a period of time. Sometimes people bite their tongue or may pass urine. You can appear confused when you come around and may feel worn out. A seizure may be triggered by stress, exhaustion, head injury, overuse of alcohol, use of drugs or illness.

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A seizure occurring for the first time does not mean a diagnosis of epilepsy. A diagnosis of epilepsy will generally be made after a person has had two or more seizures on separate occasions. It is important to undergo further investigations to try and find out the cause of the seizure.

Can I drive?

You must stop driving immediately. You should inform your insurance company (car insurance will be invalid) and GP. A medical report form (D501) will be required before you can return to driving. Some (with provoked seizures) can resume driving after six months of seizure free but will require detailed assessment by a neurologist before this.


Having a seizure should not stop you from doing things you enjoy, although sensible safety precautions do need to be taken.


Do not

Information for your family, friends and colleagues

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When should an ambulance be called?

What happens next?

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Generally after a first seizure no immediate treatment is needed. You can be sent home with the advice to see your GP or return to the emergency department if it occurs again.

If the cause is uncertain or the doctor feels this episode needs further investigation then you will be referred to an outpatient first seizure clinic (Dr Costello, Consultant Neurologist). You may also be started on antiepileptic medication until your appointment to see the neurologist. If you have any concerns in the interim contact your own GP.

Print version, adapted by Dr Serena Lazarus 25/09/2023 from:

If you are concerned, please contact the Emergency Department you first attended:

Mercy Injury Unit, Gurranabraher (021)4926900

LIU Mallow(022)58506

LIU Bantry(027)52900

Content by Dr Íomhar O' Sullivan. Last review Dr ÍOS 26/09/23 .