What are the symptoms of a petit mal seizure?


Quick Answer

Symptoms of a petit mal seizure include a sudden cessation of movement, lip smacking, rapid eyelid movement, chewing motions, finger rubbing and small hand movements, explains Mayo Clinic. After the seizure passes, the person immediately recovers without any memory of the episode.

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Full Answer

Petit mal seizures, also called absent seizures, most commonly occur in children between 5 and 15 years of age and are caused by the abnormal firing of signals between neurons in the brain, according to WebMD. This abnormality can involve one part of the brain or the entire brain and may occur from a few times per day to a few times per hour. Children with frequent episodes often have poor academic performance, and adults often misinterpret the seizures as episodes of daydreaming.

Risk factors for petit mal seizures include age, male gender, a history of febrile seizure and a family history of seizures, describes Mayo Clinic. The complications of this disorder include the risk of seizures throughout life, development of convulsive seizures, learning difficulties, behavioral problems and social isolation. The treatment of petit mal seizures often begins with ethosuximide, and other treatment options include valproic acid and lamotrigine. When seizure activity is absent for two years, patients taper off the medication under medical supervision.

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