CONVULSIONS, the pathological condition of body associated with abnormal, violent and spasmodic contractions and relaxations of the muscles, taking the form of a fit. Convulsions may be a symptom resulting from various diseases, but the term is commonly restricted to the infantile variety, occurring in association with teething, or other causes which upset the child's nervous system. The treatment (plunging into a hot bath, or administration of chloroform) must be prompt, as convulsions are responsible for a large part of infant mortality.
The name "Convulsionaries" (Fr. Convulsionnaires) was given to certain Jansenist fanatics in France in the 18th century, owing to the convulsions, regarded by them as proofs of divine inspiration, which were the result of their religious ecstasies (see Jansenism). The term "Convulsionists" is sometimes applied to them, as also, more loosely, to other religious enthusiasts who exhibit the same symptoms.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)