Absence Seizures in Children


Absence seizures are a universal kind of seizure that normally begins during youth. Nevertheless, absence seizures can likewise establish in grownups. These seizures are characterized by brief durations of unresponsiveness that might happen several times a day. Absence seizures are categorized as typical or irregular.

When parents or instructors are aware of the symptoms, an absence seizure is simple to spot. A diagnosis is usually made after it is reported that a child typically gazes blankly and the child’s doctor notices a typical pattern during a seizure on an EEG. A common absence seizure is sometimes misinterpreted for a complicated partial seizure if the features are not common. 

What Are the Signs of Absence Seizures in Children?

Typical Absence Seizures

It will end up being easy to find when a child is in the middle of a common absence seizure since he/she will normally stop what he/she has been doing and stare blankly. In addition, his/her eyes often roll in an upwards instructions and he/she will be unresponsive if talked to or touched. These seizures usually last roughly 10-15 seconds and later on, the child will either be right away alert or he/she may feel quickly puzzled. The child will be uninformed of the seizure and, if he/she is being monitored, an EEG will reveal a pattern of spikes and waves during a seizure, but appear typical between them.

  • For absence seizure with moderate clonic parts, the child might provide symptoms such as mild, subtle eyelid twitching, or twitching of the corners of the mouth and arms.
  • For absence seizure with atonic parts, the child loses his/her muscle tone leading to the body or head plunging forward or items dropping from his/her hands. Luckily, a child does not typically fall during the seizure.
  • For absence seizure with tonic components, the symptoms might be symmetric or uneven, suggesting the symptoms could be the very same on both sides or stronger on one side. Tonic activity could cause the muscles to all of a sudden contract or stiffen. A child who is standing during a common absence seizure might be pressed back somewhat or his/her body or head may unexpectedly twist to the side.
  • For absence seizures with automatisms, the symptoms might look like a complex partial seizure. A child might seem to be making movements on function like raising his/her eyebrows, scratching at his/her hands, licking or swallowing.
  • For absence seizures with free elements, the child’s mouth area might be pale, the pupils could dilate, the heartrate could enhance, the skin may be flushed, there may be drool or the child might wet himself/herself.

Atypical Absence Seizures

Atypical absence seizures are often harder to classify since it is more difficult to inform when their staring spells start and end. An irregular seizure has a period of around 5 to 10 seconds and children may be puzzled afterwards. During the seizure, their eyelids might jerk, they will have involuntarily muscle motions, their body might stiffen and they could fall.

Atypical absence seizures usually take place in children with other neurological conditions like mental retardation. They may likewise have other types of seizures and when their brain is kept track of with an EEG, it will appear unusual both between and during seizures.

When to See a Doctor

Talk to your child’s pediatrician about absence seizures if you discover your child sometimes appears if as she or he is “in their own world” or stops their activity and has a blank gaze. In addition, if the instructor reports that your child has been daydreaming or tuning out during class, ask the teacher to note how frequently it happens, how long your child seems to be tuned out as well as detail any habits that occur during that time.

Causes of Absence Seizures in Children

Although there may be no underlying cause of a child’s absence seizures, some children have a hereditary predisposition to them. In addition, it might likewise be set off by rapid breathing.

Absence seizures are typically the outcome of unusual electrical impulses in the brain’s neurons. The nerve cells generally send out chemical and electrical signals to the synapses, however for people with a seizure condition, the brain’s activity is altered. When they have an absence seizure, the brain’s signals are repeated in three-second patterns. The brain’s neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers, may also be changed in those who have seizures.

Absence seizures are more typical in children than they are in adults due to the fact that lots of children outgrow them within a few months or years. Nevertheless, some children likewise experience full seizures, which have tonic and/or clonic functions.

Diagnosing Absence Seizures in Children

If your child’s doctor suspects absence seizures, they will have a look at their total case history to look for any injury during birth, any serious head injuries and possible brain infections like meningitis or sleeping sickness. The doctor will likewise analyze the child’s brain function by doing an electroencephalogram or EEG.

An EEG is used to discover electrochemical activity amongst brain cells and they typically show both characteristic and unusual activity during a seizure. Other tests, including X-rays, MRIs or CTs are done to rule out causes of seizures.

How Is the Condition Treated?

Your child’s doctor will begin him/her on the most affordable possible dosage of an anti-seizure medication and they might enhance the dosage if had to assist control the seizures. Some of the medications that are prescribed include ethosuximide, valproic acid and lamotrigine. If your child hasn’t had a seizure in two years, the doctor may start tapering off the medication.

You should consider having your child wear a medical alert bracelet with his/her condition, any medications he/she takes and your contact info included on it. Likewise, inform the instructors, coaches and caretakers about the seizures.


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