What is it?

Absence Epilepsy, or petit Mal Status, is a type of epilepsy that consists of very short seizures with almost unnoticeable symptoms. These seizures last less than 20 seconds and while having it, it seems as if the person is having a daydream. It is most common in children between the ages of 4-12 but can also happen in adults. During an absence seizure, the brain gets repeated electrical signals. There is a genetic contribution in absence, probably linked to mutations in ion channels.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Absence seizures

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms include staring, smacking the lips together, fluttering eyelids, stop speaking in the middle of a sentence, leaning forward or backward, and making sudden hand movements.


Diagnosis is based upon findings from medical history and physical examination. Further evaluation may include EEG which records brain electrical activity and imaging of the brain such as CT scan or MRI.


Treatment includes anticonvulsant medications.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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