Absence Seizure


Absence Seizure or petit mal seizure is a widely discussed topic in recent times. This health issue has become quite common in children in recent times. However, children can suffer from this problem without any long-term diseases. It is a situation where the patient stares out at a space for a few seconds then returns to the normal state immediately.

In this situation, the patients lose consciousness for a while. Many think this problem can be due to sudden injury, but it is not that. Children can suffer from this problem due to genetic causes. Mainly children between 4 to 14 years suffer from absence seizures.

Doctors also relate absence seizures as a type of epilepsy. It can be caused due to abnormal activity of the brain, and mixed messages can confuse the brain. Children can suffer from certain complications due to the absence of seizures.


  • Suppose parents notice their kids staring at a place for a few seconds without listening to anything. In such case, it is a sign of absence seizure. It is a generalized onset seizure that can develop simultaneously on both sides of the brain.

  • The absence of seizures impacts the awareness of the patients, and they can hardly be aware of what is happening around them. Children commonly suffer from absence seizures, but adults can also face this problem. Sometimes, individuals can suffer from this problem for many years without diagnosing it as a health hazard.

  • People are curious to know the prime causes of absence seizures. As per researchers, absence seizure is a type of epilepsy and genetics play a prime role in this health issue. However, experts are still discovering the exact causes of absence seizures. In most cases, absence seizure does not continue for more than 30 seconds. People can suffer from this problem without any warning signs.

  • In general, the absence of seizures does not cause any health hazards, but children can face some complications. They can suffer from learning difficulties and behavioral problems and will like to stay isolated socially.


The simple indication that an individual suffers from absence seizure is staring at a spot for 15-30 seconds. While in the absence seizure, the Individual will not pay attention to the happenings around them.

The patient will stop any activity for a few seconds, and lip thrashing will be noticed. You will notice that the patient's eyelid will start fluttering, and they will start rubbing their fingers. There will be little movements of hands. You can also notice small mouth movements while the patient is in the absence seizure.

There are two types of absence seizures- Typical and atypical. Atypical absence seizures can occur among people of any age. The atypical pattern starts slowly and lasts for a long time. At the same time, typical absence seizures last a shorter period than an atypical pattern. You will notice more muscle activities in a person if a person suffers from atypical absence seizure. There will be more blinking of eyes or mouth movement in an atypical pattern.

Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Whenever parents feel that their kids are suffering from absences seizure, they must consult with doctors without delay. The physicians will check based on the symptoms of epilepsy or the absence of seizures. They will conduct a hyperventilation test to check the signs of these health problems.

  • Here the doctors will ask the parents when their kids face this issue. So, parents should disclose the child's symptoms and previous incidents. Parents can collect related information from the school or other family members. Once the physicians know about the entire case, they will conduct Hyperventilating. It is the first test a healthcare provider will perform to diagnose an absence seizure. The physicians will also recommend a blood test to cure the patient of this problem.

  • Suppose the doctors find that the absence of a seizure comes with other symptoms. In that case, they will conduct an ECG or echocardiogram for the kids. ECG will check the electrical activity within the brain and diagnose the situation's criticality. Here sensors are placed on the child's scalp to monitor the brain's activity. The ECG will diagnose the pattern of the atypical absence seizure. It becomes easy to check the patterns of absence seizure through ECG.

  • Once parents know that their kids are suffering from absence seizures, they will try to consult with doctors for the best treatment. Normally, doctors recommend some seizure medicines to heal the patients. The common medications for absence seizures are −

  • Ethosuximide or Zarontin − This medicine is mainly used for those suffering from atypical absence seizures.

  • Lamotrigine or Lamictal − This medicine is mainly used to treat Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, Refractory Seizures, Focal Aware or Simple Partial Seizure, and Secondarily Generalized Seizures.

  • Valproic acid or Depakene − This medicine is used to cure patients of Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy and other related health issues.

  • Divalproex sodium or Depakote − Doctors suggest this medication for those suffering from Simple Partial Seizure or Focal Aware.

As per research, it has been noticed that almost 7 out of 10 kids can get cured of absence seizures before they reach 18 years of age. After that, they will not require any medication during their adult age. Well, children may need this medication for the long term to get a cure completely from this problem. Besides those above treatment options, doctors suggest preventive measures so that kids don't suffer from this problem. Parents need to take care of the following matters.

  • Kids should have plenty of sleep at night.

  • Kids should be away from any stress or tension

  • Consumption of a healthy diet is one of the most useful ways to keep kids away from absence seizures.

  • Parents should ask their kids to exercise daily.

Besides kids, if adults also face the absence of seizures, they must consult with doctors. If you have a problem with sleep or cannot sleep well at night for a long time, you should take advice from doctors.

Updated on: 24-Jan-2023


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