Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Postictal Confusion

  • Christine J. MihailaEmail author
  • Nuri Erkut Kucukboyaci
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1053


Postictal state


“Postictal” is a neurophysiological term that refers to the time period after a seizure has concluded. Postictal confusion can last anywhere from minutes to several days and can be comprised of both mental and physical feelings of exhaustion and malaise. Mental exhaustion, confusion, disorientation, and slowness are experienced by patients as an inability to think clearly. Cognitively, this state is typically accompanied by difficulty with attention/concentration and short-term memory, decreased verbal output and social interactivity, and other specific cognitive deficits related to focal epileptogenic region. Postictal confusion is more commonly associated with complex partial, generalized tonic-clonic, and secondarily generalized seizures and less so with simple partial or absence seizures. Other postictal states include postictal depression, postictal psychosis, postictal bliss, Todd’s paresis, and postictal migraines. Violence and aggressive...

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References and Readings

  1. Chapin, J. S., Busch, R. M., Janigro, D., Dougherty, M., Tilelli, C. Q., Lineweaver, T. T., et al. (2008). APOE epsilon4 is associated with postictal confusion in patients with medically refractory temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy Research, 81(2–3), 220–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Engel, J. (1989). Seizures and epilepsy. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.Google Scholar
  3. Fisher, R. S., & Schachter, S. (2000). The postictal state: A neglected entity in the management of epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior, 1(1), 52–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Noachtar, S., & Schmidt, D. (Eds.), (2010). The postictal state. Epilepsy & Behavior (Special Issue), 19(2), 95–194.Google Scholar
  5. Theodore, W. H. (2010). The postictal state: Effects of age and underlying brain dysfunction. Epilepsy & Behavior, 19(2), 118–120.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.06.031. Epub 2010 Aug 17. Review. PubMed PMID: 20724220; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2952737.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine J. Mihaila
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nuri Erkut Kucukboyaci
    • 2
  1. 1.Northeast Regional Epilepsy GroupNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Clinical PsychologyRusk Institute – NYU Langone HealthNew YorkUSA