How Do You Recognize a Petit Mal Seizure?


Quick Answer

Someone staring into space for 10 to 15 seconds may be having a petit mal seizure, according to Mayo Clinic, but a petit mal seizure can be recognized by the inability to interrupt that person with touch or sound, according to Healthline. Other symptoms include lip smacking, fluttering eyelids, making chewing motions, moving fingers or making other small hand movements, or stopping movements, according to Mayo Clinic.

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How Do You Recognize a Petit Mal Seizure?
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Full Answer

Individuals having a petit mal seizure may suddenly stop walking or talking and resume a few seconds later, according to the National Institutes of Health. They don't lose consciousness or fall down, and immediately afterward, they are alert, thinking clearly and unaware that they just had a seizure. Because many petit mal seizures manifest as simply staring episodes for a few seconds, they are often confused with inattention or learning difficulties in children, and it may take months to recognize them as seizures.

Atypical petit mal seizures can last up to 30 seconds, according to the Epilepsy Foundation, although other sources indicate longer durations. Petit mal seizures are otherwise known as absence seizures. Those wherein sufferers are simply staring into space are called simple absence seizures, and those that include physical movements are called complex absence seizures. They do not cause brain damage, and they can happen from one to many times per day without causing any adverse effects.

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