The first and most important part of a visit to the doctor is an interview, called taking a history.

  • The doctor will ask for a complete description of what happened.
  • Often it is important to bring along a family member or someone else who saw the seizure and can tell the doctor what happened, since the person who had the spell may have been unconscious. Even if the person thinks that he or she was aware, there may be important aspects of the spell that are not recalled.
  • The doctor will want to hear not only a description of the seizure itself, but also the story of the events leading up to it and the after-effects that followed it.
  • The doctor then will thoroughly examine the person and probably will order several tests.
  • The doctor may have enough information on the first visit to recommend or start treatment, but sometimes this will happen only after further test results are reviewed.

Questions your doctor may ask:

  • Could the episode have been provoked by sleep deprivation, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, or some other factor?
  • What was the setting?
  • Did the episode occur shortly after standing?
  • Was there a warning?
  • Exactly what happened during the episode?
  • How long did it last?
  • Was the person tired or confused after the episode?
  • Has there been more than one episode? If so, were they all alike?
  • Has the person seen a doctor before about this kind of event?
  • If so, what tests were done?
  • Was any medication prescribed? What effect did it have?



Authored By: 
Carl W. Bazil MD, PhD
Joseph I. Sirven MD
Reviewed By: 
Joseph I. Sirven MD
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Thursday, August 22, 2013