Gelastic seizures are brief outbursts of emotion, usually in the form of a laugh or a cry. They may be accompanied by forced eye movements, chewing or grinding the teeth, tonic posturing, and clonic jerking. The person may appear confused and/or dazed during and after an episode. Gelastic seizures usually last 5 to 60 seconds. The person may remember them clearly or may be completely unaware of what occurred.
Gelastic seizures are both unpredictable and unprovoked by the person’s surroundings. They are abrupt in onset and quickly over. Gelastic seizures may occur nocturnally, waking the person from sleep and leaving them exhausted.
Research shows that gelastic seizures often occur in people who have an (often maternal) family history of migraines.