What is a fit?
A fit, also known as a seizure or convulsion, is when abnormal electrical activity in the brain changes a person’s behaviour. This can be caused by many things and take many forms, but the most common ‘fit’ is one caused by epilepsy. Injury to the brain, drug misuse, birth defects and other medical conditions can all result in epilepsy, which causes the brain to become excitable and its neurons to send out abnormal signals.
Symptoms depend on the part of the brain affected and can be as simple as a focal seizure which might result in eye rolling or muscle contraction, or as dramatic as a ‘grand mal’. In the latter, the entire body can experience violent muscle contractions and clenched teeth for several minutes. Sometimes the fit can halt breathing and leave the victim with a blue pallor, making them potentially life threatening.
Seizures are sometimes preceded by distinct tastes, sounds or smells, called auras, and can have a number of triggers, including stress, fever and, in some epileptic cases, flashing lights like strobes.