An absence seizure
is a type of epileptic
seizure that causes people to briefly become unaware of what's happening around them
and stare ahead without moving, appearing "absent."
More to Know
Absence seizures affect children more than adults and may be associated with other
types of seizures.
There is no known cause for absence seizures, but they do tend to run in families.
Like all seizures, they're the result of abnormal electrical or chemical activity
in the brain.
Hyperventilation or flashing lights may be triggers, but there may be no such identifiable
Absence seizures happen without warning, usually last less than 15 seconds, and
can occur multiple times a day. Because they can be misinterpreted as daydreaming
or lack of attention, they can be difficult to diagnose. They can be very disruptive
to a student's learning in the classroom and dangerous during certain activities like
In addition to a sudden stop in movement and awareness, people who experience an
absence seizure may make chewing motions, flutter their eyelids, smack their lips,
or fumble with their hands. Following the seizure, the person will immediately return
to an alert state and have no memory of the episode.
Keep in Mind
While absence seizures can be disturbing, many anti-seizure medications are available
to significantly reduce the occurrence of seizures or even eliminate them. In addition,
many kids and teens outgrow these seizures as they reach adulthood.
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