Epilepsy with grand mal seizures (tonic clonic seizures) on awakening otherwise known as awakening epilepsy (AE), is a type of idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE)- a family of seizure disorders with an unkown cause.
The main symptom of AE is tonic clonic, or grand mal, seizures 1-2 hours after awakening, no matter what time of day. Tonic clonic/grand mal seizures involve a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. Seizures typically start in adolescence (between the ages of 10 and 20), though they may begin in childhood or early adulthood as well. Those with AE often do not display other symptoms characteristic of IGE’s.
AE is though to be caused by a mutation in the CLCN2 gene on chromosome 3. A gene is made up of DNA that codes for proteins responsible for normal bodily and cellular processes, and when a gene is mutated, there can be many possible, disease-causing effects. The mode of inheritance for CLCN2 is unknown.
Those with AE usually do not show any brain abnormalities on an EEG or MRI – therefore, AE is most commonly diagnosed based on a description of the seizures and when/how often they occur. AE is treated with certain anticonvulsant medications and a managment plan created with your health provider.
If you believe you or a family member could have AE, speak with your doctor to learn more information. Support groups may also be available for further resources.
Description Last Updated: Aug 21, 2018