Paroxysm | Definition, Explanation & Examples

By | September 16, 2019


Paroxysm Definition:

The paroxysm is defined as a sudden attack or recurrence of specific emotion, activity or disease. The word Paroxysm derived from the Greek word “para” during “oxys”, acute or sharp. Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, the founder of modern chemistry use the root “oxys” form the word “oxygen”.

A paroxysm referred to as a violent and sudden attack. It may occur due to the sudden occurrence of symptoms. Paroxysm is the sudden attack of any disease such as paroxysm of coughing. The paroxysm is also known as “paroxysmal attack”. Paroxysm also defined as sudden physical response such as laughing or sneezing.

Paroxysm takes place with various different medical conditions, as the symptoms of paroxysm are varying depends on the particular condition. Paroxysm may occur in many medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, pertussis (whooping cough), epilepsy, and asthma. Some of the medical conditions have the feature of the word paroxysm with their name as it is a major component of these conditions, including paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Which is occurs then the atrial of the heat lose their rhythm and irregular beat. The paroxysm word can also describe a sudden recurrence of emotion, such as outburst of laughter.

Paroxysm Synonyms

Synonyms of Paroxysm is described in the picture below:Paroxysm

Examples of Paroxysmal Disorder:

Paroxysm disorders are described below:

Some examples of disorder paroxysm are described below:

  • Paroxysmal Dyskinesias

Paroxysmal Dyskinesias (PD) are disorders of movement. A person, who faces Paroxysmal dyskinesias, has abnormal movement only during the paroxysmal attack. Paroxysmal Dyskinesias has four different kinds of paroxysmal movements. A person may have one or more kinds of these four.


Paroxysmal Dyskinesias (PD) may be inherited or it can also appear sporadically. It occurs is body by the improper function of the basal ganglia, which is a part of the brain that plays an important role in the movement of the motor. Although, the actual causes are not discovered.

These four kinds are:

  1. Dystonic

It is basically repetitive and patterned movement.

   2. Choreic

It is Quick and involuntary movement, similar to fidgeting.

3. Ballistic

The movement of the whole portion of a limb, such as the movement of the hip and knee.

  4. Athetoid

Slow-motion, generally it involves the hands.

  • Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation

Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation (Paroxysmal AFib) is a disorder in which the atria, which are the two upper chambers of the heart, beat irregularly instead of normal rhythm for a period of time remains from minutes to days. Damaging of heart from heart disease or hypertension is the cause of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation.

Paroxysmal AFib can also be caused by a heart valve defection, overactive thyroid, binge drinking, low potassium, or stimulants such as caffeine. Symptoms of the Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation (Paroxysmal AFib) are lightheadedness, chest pain, and feeling one’s heart pounding. If this disorder does not treat at the time, more serious complications can occur including clots of blood, stroke, or even failure of the heart.


  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a disorder in which people have to experience a false sense for a brief or long period of time, which they are spinning. People who have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) may feel lightheaded, dizzy, unsteady, and nauseous. This disease caused by dislodging of calcium carbonate in the inner ear, which is the part of the body that send signals to the brain in order to create a sense of balancing. This part sends the signals to the brain which tells that the head is moving, even though it is not, and a spinning sensation caused by this. Many cases do not have any apparent cause, but Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is known to be associated with an ear infection, diabetes, migraine headaches, and osteoporosis. This disease is treated by guided to the head movements to put the crystals back in place.


Other Conditions that Feature Paroxysms:

In some cases of a medical condition, they are not defined by paroxysmal action but paroxysms may occur in it. Some examples of these types of medical conditions are described below:

  • Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a condition, in which the brain and spinal cord nerves of a person become damaged over time. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease, with the beginning from the age 20 to 50, and there is no treatment introduced for this. Many of symptoms of this disease are paroxysmal and may appear or reappear suddenly for a period of seconds to minutes. These symptoms are including itching, tingling, and burning sensations, pains in the legs and arms, spasms, lack of coordination, and problems in vision and speech.


  • Pertussis

Pertussis is a disease of whooping cough. Pertussis has three stages; catarrhal, paroxysmal, and convalescent. In the first catarrhal stage, the person with pertussis will have low fever and coughs occasionally. During the second paroxysmal stage, the occasional coughs become paroxysmal. This coughs are severe and occur for short bursts, and occurs on an average of 15 times per day. During the last convalescent stage, the affected person will slowly recover, but paroxysms may still reoccur for some months afterward.



  • Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a chronic disease which is determined by recurring seizures. In some cases, epilepsy occurs by a genetic problem, while some other cases of epilepsy are caused by tumors, head injuries, strokes, or birth defects. When a seizure occurs, the neurons in the brain fire abnormally, and in result too much brain activity. Then the neurons become depolarized in a shift of paroxysmal depolarizing.


It causes an affected person to shake uncontrollably for some seconds to minutes. It is cured by taking medication daily. An EEG cap is used for the purpose for determination of the source of abnormal brain waves in a person who suffers from epilepsy.


  • Asthma

Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of lungs. This disease affects the airways of the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe for a short period. People who affected by asthma have sudden paroxysms including wheezing, coughing, and face difficulty in breathing, usually in the night. Attacks of asthma are treated by using inhaler which contains medication against asthma. Sometimes, this disease can be prevented by avoiding particular triggers such as cigarette smoke or pets.