Difference Between Fainting and Seizure

The terms fainting and seizure share some primary symptoms. People frequently confuse the two because both involve passing out and being unable to move.

Fainting vs Seizure

The main difference between fainting and seizure is that the former is caused due to the insufficient supply of blood to the brain. In contrast, the latter is caused due to electrical disturbances in the brain.

Fainting vs Seizure

Fainting, clinically known as syncope, occurs when the amount of blood supply to the brain drops drastically. It involves the loss of consciousness.

Seizures, also referred to as convulsions at times, causes a series of symptoms such as loss of consciousness, changes in body language and behaviour. Seizures occur when there is an imbalance of electrical signals sent to the brain, and disturbances occur.


Comparison Table Between Fainting and Seizure (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of comparisonFaintingSeizure
DefinitionFainting can be simply described as passing out due to insufficient blood supply to the brain.When a person passes out, and there is a sudden change in movement and behaviour, it is called a seizure.
CausesIt is caused due to a sudden drop in heart rate, a drop in blood pressure, or irregular circulation of blood.It is caused when there is an imbalance of electrical signals sent to the brain, and disturbances occur.
SymptomsThe symptoms of fainting include the loss of consciousness, unable to respond to stimulus, and blacking out.The symptoms of seizure include passing out, convulsions, drooling, and abnormal behaviour and motor functioning.
Time it lastsGenerally, after a person has fainted, if there was no severe damage, they can recover within a minute.Seizures can be severe, can if the patient is not tended to immediately, can last longer than a minute.
Instructions to helpIf a person faints, first sit them down or lie them on a bed and check whether their pulse is stable.Lie the patient on the ground, do not restrain or put anything in their mouth, and wait.


What is Fainting?

When you see a person lose consciousness suddenly and for no apparent reason, we describe it merely as fainting or passing out. In the world of medicine, the clinical term for such a condition is “syncope”.

There are a few causes for why a person faints, such as –

  1. A sudden drop in the heart rate, which could occur due to straining oneself with some form of exercise or activity.
  2. A drop in the blood pressure caused due to poor health condition or due to a considerable amount of stress.
  3. Insufficient supply of blood to the brain.
  4. Irregular circulation of blood to the other parts of the body.

It is easy to identify if a person has fainted through various symptoms that might describe their behaviour. They are as follows –

  1. Loss of consciousness or passing out.
  2. Blurred vision.
  3. Unable to control the body or not responding to stimulus
  4. Dizziness.
  5. Nausea
  6. Cold sweats

Once a person has fainted, it usually lasts for a minute or less, unless they have been injured in any way. Some steps can be taken to help the person, such as lying them down on the floor or sitting them down and checking their pulse rate as well.


What is Seizure?

When a person blacks out and undergo a series of irregular changes in their body language, we can classify it as a seizure. We also see seizure to be interchangeable with “convulsions”.

There are several reasons why a person might suffer from a seizure, such as-

  1. Electrical disturbances in the brain or electric shock.
  2. Congenital brain defects.
  3. Drug abuse
  4. Brain injuries
  5. Brain infections

If a person is prone to or tends to have regular and recurrent seizures, that person is said to have epilepsy. There are a few symptoms to identify whether a person is undergoing a seizure, such as–

  1. Blacking out
  2. Uncontrollable shaking
  3. Irregular contraction and relaxation of muscles
  4. Convulsions
  5. Drooling

Seizures are, at times, very severe and can happen spontaneously at any moment. These can last longer than a minute at times.

Due to their severity, one must tend to a person suffering from a seizure immediately, by lying them down on the floor, and not restricting them in any way. One must wait for the seizure to pass and call for medical help.


Main Differences Between Fainting and Seizure

  1. Fainting occurs when a person does not receive a sufficient amount of blood to their brain and pass out. Seizures occur due to electrical disturbances in their brain and blackout.
  2. Fainting can be caused due to a drop in blood pressure or heart rate. Seizures can be caused due to brain damage, drug abuse or electric shook.
  3. Symptoms of fainting involve passing out, nausea and dizziness, while the symptoms of seizure include convulsions, drooling, and uncontrollable shaking.
  4. When a person faints, it lasts for a minute or less, while a seizure might last longer than a minute.
  5. A person who has fainted should be made to sit down and checked for any injury and their pulse rate. A person who is suffering a seizure must be made to lie down and make sure they are not restricted or near any sharp objects.
Difference Between Fainting and Seizure



The terms fainting and seizure have a few apparent symptoms in common, such as passing out and being immobile. But, when seen at a deeper level, we observe that a seizure can be at times more severe than fainting.

During a seizure, a person might experience convulsions, drooling and uncontrollable shaking. When a person faints, they lose consciousness and feel nauseous.

After a person has fainted, they must be sat down, and their pulse rate must be checked. A person suffering from a seizure must be made to lie down on the ground, and not restricted or held down.

One must wait for the patient’s seizure to pass by or till the medical professionals arrive.


  1. https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/12642914
  2. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.017308
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