There are convulsive motions, with entire loss of consciousness; falling down, with cries and foam at the mouth; the thumbs are flexed into the palm of the hand. The attacks occur in paroxysms, each paroxysm having two stages. The first or convulsive stage may last from a few minutes up two or three hours, when it passes into the second or the soporous or apoplectic stage. Sometimes the attack comes on without any premonition, when the patient, no matter where he may be, falls senseless to the earth, as if struck by lightning. Sometimes, however, there are premonitory symptoms, such as, headache and nausea. The attacks may come on at certain periods, but more frequently at indefinite times. The disease is difficult to cure and the attacks may continue through life, ending in weakness of the mental faculties, and sometimes almost idiocy. It must be borne in mind that in epilepsy, the convulsions, however weak they may be, are attended with entire loss of consciousness, while convulsions, even of the most violent character, if the patient still retain a certain amount of consciousness, are not epileptic.


In the treatment of this disease almost every thing depends in getting at the correct cause, hence the case should be submitted to a careful physician. During the paroxysm particular pains should be taken to prevent the patient hurting himself from his violent motions. A small piece of pine wood or a piece of cork may also be placed between his teeth. Two drops of Belladonna may be mixed in a tumbler half full of water, and a teaspoonful given as soon as he can swallow, every fifteen or twenty minutes. During the second or soporous stage, Opium may be given in the same way, a dose once in a half hour or hour.