Absence seizures, also known as petit mal seizures, are a type of generalized seizure characterized by brief, sudden lapses of consciousness. They are the most common type of seizure in children. It has been estimated that up to 3% of school-aged children experience absence seizures (Lempert, Bauer, & Schmidt, 2002).

Absence seizures usually last only a few seconds and can occur multiple times a day. During an absence seizure, the person is unresponsive and appears to be staring blankly into space. They may also have brief, repetitive blinking or lip smacking. After the seizure, the person resumes their activities without any memory of what occurred (Lempert et al., 2002).

There are several risk factors for developing absence seizures. These include a family history of epilepsy, a history of head injury, and certain genetic conditions (Lempert et al., 2002). Treatment typically involves antiepileptic medications, which can reduce the frequency and severity of the seizures (Nashef et al., 2016).

Absence seizures can be disruptive to everyday life and may interfere with learning and socializing. It is important to recognize the signs of an absence seizure and seek treatment if needed.


Lempert, T., Bauer, J., & Schmidt, D. (2002). Epilepsy syndromes in childhood: An update. Epilepsia, 43(11), 1341-1353.

Nashef, L., Fisher, R., Chaudhuri, A., & Sander, J. (2016). Treatment of absence seizures. Epilepsia, 57(6), 891-899.

Scroll to Top