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Difference between Absence Seizure and Complex Partial Seizure
Loss of consciousness and blank gazing are the symptoms of absence seizures and complex partial seizures, respectively. Electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain can confirm their diagnosis, and drugs can be used to treat both the conditions. Read this article to learn more about Absence Seizure and Complex Partial Seizure and how they are different from each other.
What is Absence Seizure?
Petit mal seizures (also known as absence seizures) manifest visually as looking blankly for a few seconds or rapid blinking (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). When aberrant electric activity develops in both the left and right hemispheres of the brain at the same time, it is considered to be a generalized seizure (grand mal seizure).
In the midst of an absence seizure, a person may appear to be daydreaming because of their abrupt onset of staring spells, during which they may cease all movement and stare in a single direction. After around 15 seconds (some sources suggest 30 seconds or less), the episode ends on its own, and normal alertness is immediately restored. After a seizure, the person often has no recollection of what happened and may carry on as if nothing unusual had happened (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2021).
The symptoms of absence seizure include the following (Harvard Health Publishing, 2018) −
Staring for a few brief seconds
Does not respond to people speaking
Twitching or jerking of an arm or a leg
Having no memory of the episode
Usually no confusion during the recovery period
What is Complex Partial Seizure?
Complex partial seizures (CPS), often referred to as focal impaired awareness seizures or focal onset impaired awareness seizures, are hemispheric-onset, consciousness-impairing seizures (Kumar & Sharma, 2020). The temporal lobe is the most commonly impacted region of the brain. These convulsions can last anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes and typically begin unexpectedly. In addition to staring blankly, other symptoms include swallowing, smacking of the lips, repeating phrases, fluttering of the eyelids, chewing, yelling, sobbing, laughing, and hallucinations.
When someone has just recovered from a complicated partial seizure, they are often bewildered and unaware of what has happened. Complex partial seizures are common in people with cerebral palsy, but they can also be caused by mental health issues like anxiety and depression or neurological disorders like neurofibromatosis and autism. High temperatures, bright lights, low blood sugar, and drug responses are all contributors (Wells, 2017).
A larger seizure may occur without notice, although an aura or a little partial seizure may be a warning indication. Alterations in vision (such as a spot's movement slowing down, an object's size or form being distorted, or the appearance of dazzling lights) are only some of the symptoms of an aura. Before a seizure, they might last anywhere from a few seconds to an hour (Healthwise, 2020).
The electroencephalogram (EEG) result is definitive evidence of the diagnosis; a CT scan, MRI, blood test, and/or neurological exam may help pinpoint the underlying reason. Epilepsy can be treated in a number of ways, including with antiepileptic medicines, vagus nerve stimulation, dietary modifications (the ketogenic diet), and surgery (Wells, 2017).
Differences: Absence Seizure and Complex Partial Seizure
The following table highlights the major differences between Absence Seizure and Complex Partial Seizure −
Complex Partial Seizure
Effect on base level
Absence seizures originate in both hemispheres of the brain at once and can remain for several seconds; they show as blank stares that are so fleeting that they are often overlooked.
Involving a specific region of the brain, complex partial seizures can linger for many seconds or even minutes. In addition to staring blankly, other symptoms include swallowing, smacking of the lips, repeating phrases, fluttering of the eyelids, chewing, yelling, sobbing, laughing, and hallucinations.
Petit mal seizures, or absence seizures, are another name for them.
Focal impaired awareness seizures (or focal onset impaired awareness Focal impaired awareness seizures (or focal onset impaired awareness
Absence seizures frequently manifest quite suddenly.
Simple partial onsets or auras, which can precede complicated partial seizures, can last anywhere from a few seconds to an hour (though complex partial seizures may also start abruptly).
Atypical absence seizures and typical absence seizures are the two different forms of absence seizures.
Focal-onset seizures include complex partial seizures.
To conclude, absence seizures affect a specific region of the brain and can last anywhere from thirty seconds to two minutes, while complex partial seizures start simultaneously in the left and right hemispheres and can persist for several seconds.
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