Absence Seizure - Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Simi Paknikar
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Simi Paknikar, MD
Last Updated on Mar 25, 2017
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which specialist should I consult to check if my child is suffering from absence seizure?

You should consult a pediatrician or a pediatric neurologist.

2. Is absence seizure a disease?

No. Absence seizure or any form of epilepsy is a symptom of an underlying disorder in the brain.

3. Is epilepsy a common condition?

Epilepsy is more common than we think. Some statistics suggest that 1 in 26 persons will experience some form of epilepsy during their lifetime.

4. When was epilepsy first described?

Epilepsy is the oldest known brain disorder. It has been referred to 2000 years before Christ. It has been mentioned in the Bible and some ancient Greek texts.

5. What is a staring spell?

During an absence seizure, the person stops what he/she is doing and simply stares blankly into space and is unresponsive. This is referred to as a staring spell.

6. What is an atypical absence seizure?

During an atypical absence seizure, the person stares blankly but shows a slight response.

7. Will absence seizure last lifelong?

No. In most cases, the child outgrows the condition during the teens. Only in very rare cases does it persist into adulthood.

8. What is a pseudoseizure?

A pseudo seizure is caused by a conscious or unconscious desire for more attention. It resembles a true seizure but lacks the post-seizure confusion, drowsiness and nausea associated with true seizure.

An electroencephalogram might be useful in distinguishing a pseudo seizure from a true seizure. Treatment aims at addressing the psychological and emotional factors that caused the attack.

9. Can epilepsy occur in the absence of an underlying brain disorder?

Typically epilepsy is a chronic condition marked by recurrent unprovoked attacks occurring at periodic intervals. Sometimes seizures can also occur as an isolated occurrence in the absence of any underlying electrical brain abnormality.

Examples of some isolated seizures include those brought on by low blood sugar levels, fainting spells, drugs or alcohols, extreme stress, migraine and narcolepsy.

10. What is status epilepticus?

Status epilepticus is a condition characterized by seizures that continue for hours. This is a serious condition and the patient has to be hospitalized and treated urgently.

11. Are there several types of seizures?

Over 30 types of seizure have been described, some that respond well to medications while others that are resistant to all forms of treatment.

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