Learn About Absence Seizure

What is the definition of Absence Seizure?

An absence seizure is the term for a type of seizure involving staring spells. This type of seizure is a brief (usually less than 15 seconds) disturbance of brain function due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

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What are the alternative names for Absence Seizure?

Seizure - petit mal; Seizure - absence; Petit mal seizure; Epilepsy - absence seizure

What are the causes of Absence Seizure?

Seizures result from overactivity in the brain. Absence seizures occur most often in people under age 20, usually in children ages 4 to 12.

In some cases, the seizures are triggered by flashing lights or when the person breathes faster and more deeply than usual (hyperventilates).

They may occur with other types of seizures, such as generalized tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal seizures), twitches or jerks (myoclonus), or sudden loss of muscle strength (atonic seizures).

What are the symptoms of Absence Seizure?

Most absence seizures last only a few seconds. They often involve staring episodes. The episodes may:

  • Occur many times a day
  • Occur for weeks to months before being noticed
  • Interfere with school and learning
  • Be mistaken for lack of attention, daydreaming or other misbehavior

Unexplained difficulties in school and learning difficulties may be the first sign of absence seizures.

During the seizure, the person may:

  • Stop walking and start again a few seconds later
  • Stop talking in mid-sentence and start again a few seconds later

The person usually does not fall during the seizure.

Right after the seizure, the person is usually:

  • Wide awake
  • Thinking clearly
  • Unaware of the seizure

Specific symptoms of typical absence seizures may include:

  • Changes in muscle activity, such as no movement, hand fumbling, fluttering eyelids, lip smacking, chewing
  • Changes in alertness (consciousness), such as staring episodes, lack of awareness of surroundings, sudden halt in movement, talking, and other awake activities

Some absence seizures begin slower and last longer. These are called atypical absence seizures. Symptoms are similar to regular absence seizures, but muscle activity changes may be more noticeable.

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What are the current treatments for Absence Seizure?

Treatment for absence seizures includes medicines, changes in lifestyle for adults and children, such as activity and diet, and sometimes surgery. Your doctor can tell you more about these options.

Who are the top Absence Seizure Local Doctors?
Highly rated in
General Surgery

NYU Langone Health

NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

223 E 34th St 
New York, NY 10016

Orrin Devinsky is a Neurologist and a General Surgeon in New York, New York. Dr. Devinsky has been practicing medicine for over 40 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Absence Seizure. He is also highly rated in 40 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Seizures, Epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome, and Epilepsy with Myoclonic-Atonic Seizures. He is licensed to treat patients in New York and New Jersey. Dr. Devinsky is currently accepting new patients.

Highly rated in

Yale New Haven Health System

Yale Physicians Building

800 Howard Ave 
New Haven, CT 6519

Hal Blumenfeld is a Neurologist in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Blumenfeld has been practicing medicine for over 30 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Absence Seizure. He is also highly rated in 11 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Seizures, Epilepsy, Absence Seizure, and Epilepsy Juvenile Absence. He is licensed to treat patients in Connecticut. Dr. Blumenfeld is currently accepting new patients.

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Highly rated in

University Of Melbourne

Clinical Outcomes Research Unit, Department Of Medicine, The Royal Melbourne Hospital 
Melbourne, VIC, AU 

Samuel Berkovic is in Melbourne, Australia. Berkovic is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Absence Seizure. He is also highly rated in 57 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Epilepsy, Genetic Epilepsy with Febrile Seizures Plus, Seizures, and Absence Seizure.

What are the latest Absence Seizure Clinical Trials?
Development of a Practical, Minimally Invasive Seizure Gauge
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Comparison of an Anatomy-based Fitting and a Conventional Fitting in Newly Implanted Cochlear Patients. Prospective Monocentric Randomized Double-blind Crossover Study.
What are the Latest Advances for Absence Seizure?
Comparative Efficacy and Safety of Lacosamide and Oxcarbazepine for Seizure Control in Children with Newly Diagnosed Solitary Neurocysticercosis.
Surgical Treatments for Epilepsy.
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Antiseizure Medications for Adults With Epilepsy: A Review.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : February 04, 2020
Published By : Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Abou-Khalil BW, Gallagher MJ, Macdonald RL. Epilepsies. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 101.

Kanner AM, Ashman E, Gloss D, et al. Practice guideline update summary: Efficacy and tolerability of the new antiepileptic drugs I: Treatment of new-onset epilepsy: Report of the Guideline Development, Dissemination, and Implementation Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society. Neurology. 2018;91(2):74-81. PMID: 29898971 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29898971/.

Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM. Seizures. In: Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM, eds. Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 181.

Wiebe S. The epilepsies. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 375.