The postictal state comes after an epileptic seizure and lasts as is an altered state of consciousness for between 5 and 30 minutes, it can be longer as a result of larger or more severe seizures and is characterized by drowsiness, confusion, nausea, hypertension, headache or migraine and other disorienting symptoms.

A patient may suffer from amnesia or other memory defects but during this period the brain goes through recovery from the trauma of the seizure.

While the postictal period is considered to be the period shortly after a seizure where the brain is still recovering from the seizure, the ictal period is considered to be the seizure itself, and the interictal period to be the period between seizures when brain activity is more normal.