An absence seizure, also known as petit mal seizure, is a type of seizure disorder that is characterized by a brief and sudden loss of consciousness, usually lasting for a few seconds to half a minute. Absence seizures usually begin in childhood and may continue into adolescence and adulthood.
During an absence seizure, the person may appear to be staring blankly into space, with no response to external stimuli. They may also experience brief muscle twitches or eye blinking. The person may not be aware that they have had a seizure, and may resume their activities as if nothing had happened.
Absence seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, which disrupts the normal functioning of the brain’s neurons. The exact cause of absence seizures is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to genetic factors or abnormalities in the brain’s structure or chemistry.
Absence seizures can usually be diagnosed through a neurological examination and an electroencephalogram (EEG) test, which measures the electrical activity in the brain. Treatment for absence seizures typically involves the use of antiepileptic medications, such as valproic acid or ethosuximide, which help to control the abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
While absence seizures are usually not life-threatening, they can interfere with a person’s daily activities and may affect their ability to learn or concentrate in school or at work. Therefore, it is important for people with absence seizures to receive appropriate medical treatment and ongoing care to manage their condition.