10 Common Symptoms of Absence Seizures


People can experience different kinds of seizures. You may have heard of certain types or known someone who has suffered a seizure. An absence seizure features a momentary loss and return of consciousness. However, you do not typically feel lethargic or disoriented afterwards. This type of seizure can affect children and adults, but more commonly occurs in children. It is also referred to as a petit mal seizure.

Absence seizures occur suddenly and only last about 15-30 seconds. You may not even realize they happened. Diagnosis is made through an EEG or MRI. There are two kinds of absence seizures: typical and atypical. Symptoms of an absence seizure vary between individuals. But here’s 10 of the most common symptoms related to absence seizure

Symptom 1: Loss of Consciousness

Do you ever feel like you are just out of it? Absent of thoughts and actions? With an absence seizure, you may fall or slump, or become extremely relaxed. Fortunately, this type of seizure does not result in bodily harm.

You are unable to respond to others or perform tasks and actions. However, in some cases, someone simply calling out your name brings you back to reality.

Symptom 2: Eyes/Eyelids Flutter

With an absence seizure, your eyes may flutter, twitch, or jolt. They may also roll up. Staring is another part of eye involvement with absence seizures.

People will notice a lack of eye contact as well as unusual eye movements.

Symptom 3: Blank Stare

Sure, all of us experience this, where we stare into space, as if daydreaming. People think we are not paying attention to them. But it is a symptom of an absence seizure. Sufferers are unaware of their surroundings.

A blank stare should only last a few seconds before you return to a regular and normal level of alertness. You should not feel any after effects, such as feeling confused, have a headache, or being drowsy.

Symptom 4: Sudden Stop in Movement

You may be walking, but stop all if a sudden. Basically, you freeze. You may be holding something in your hands, only to drop it.

Also, you may be talking to someone, only to stop in mid-sentence. All of a sudden, you just snap out of it and continue what you were doing.

Symptom 5: Chewing Motions or Smacking of Lips

During an absence seizure, you may look like you are chewing something or repetitively smacking your lips – although you are not eating. You may even bite your tongue during the seizure.

Others may notice that you are making unusual movements with your mouth, but not know why.

Symptom 6: Attention, Concentration, and Memory Issues

Often at work, adults have issues with their attention span, concentration levels, and remembering this due to absence seizures.

In school, children who suffer from absence seizures are often considered troublemakers, absent-minded, or daydreamers.


Symptom 7: Make Sudden Hand Movements

Absence seizures can often cause your muscles to shake, jerk, twitch, or make other involuntary movements.

You may make fiddling, fidgeting, or fumbling movements with your hands, arms, and legs. For example, you may wave or ring your hands together.

Symptom 8: Lean Forward, Backward, or Side to Side

When having an absence seizure, your body may lean forward or backward. Your head may move side to side.

Or you may not move at all, but freeze instead.

Symptom 9: Number of Seizures

It is common for you to experience several absence seizures every day. Fortunately, anti-seizure medicine can control the number of seizures you have each day.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “A child may have 10, 50, or even 100 absence seizures in a given day, and they may go unnoticed. Most children who have typical absence seizures are otherwise normal. However, absence seizures can get in the way of learning and affect concentration at school. This is why prompt treatment is important.”

Symptom 10: Non-Convulsive Type

Unlike epilepsy and grand mal seizures, absence seizures do not involve convulsive movements, such as falling to the ground and jerking uncontrollably.

Instead, absence seizures usually cause you to freeze or pause what you are doing. It is possible, but uncommon to fall down during an absence seizure.