Is Your Child Inattentive or Could It Be an Absence or Petit Mal Seizure?
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Is Your Child Inattentive or Could It Be an Absence or Petit Mal Seizure?

your child's inattentiveness could be a result of a condition known as absence seizure, or petit mal seizure.

We have all experienced staring into space or have seen someone else doing it. It is often scoffed off as day dreaming, but there can be a medical condition behind it. The staring into space only last for a few seconds, and is common among children. The condition is called absence seizure or petit mal seizure.

Just because the symptoms seem harmless enough, do not take it for granted. Experiencing these petit mal seizures while driving, or swimming or doing other things can be dangerous. If your child appears to have these seizures seek a doctor immediately to get a diagnosis. If they are indeed absence seizures, they can be controlled by anti-seizure medications. The good news is that children often outgrow these seizures.

Symptoms of absences seizures/petit mal seizures

  • Starring
  • Fluttering eyelids
  • Smacking lips or chewing
  • hand and small movements of the arms

The symptoms only last for a few seconds, and children can have hundreds of these seizures per day. They may interfere with their school work; but, does not seem to cause them to fall if they are walking when the episodes occur.

Because the episodes are so brief, they may go unnoticed. The first signs might be the teacher reporting the child is inattentive and their learning ability seems to decline.

You should contact your doctor if you notice these seizures, often time these seizures can lead to other kinds of seizures as well. Be very cautious if the episodes occur and the child is not aware of doing such things as eating, moving, or is confused for a long period of time. Any seizure over 5 minutes is not mild and requires immediate attention. These symptoms could be caused by a more serious condition known as absence status epilepticus.

Causes for absence seizures

Sometimes there is no underlying cause, other times it is genetic or caused by hyperventilating.

Basically a seizure is caused by some kind of abnormal brain cells (neuronal) activity. Our brain cells communicate with each other by chemical and electrical charges. In an absence seizure, these cells repeat the signals in an altered three-second loop.

There could be an imbalance in the chemical neurotransmitters of the brain as well. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that require the presence of synapses to transfer the messages from one neuron to the other. Young children have many more synapses than adults or even teenagers do and this could also be a reason for the altered level of neurotransmitters.

The good news is that children do outgrow this condition in time.


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Comments (2)

Great issue here for everyone to know.

Excellent article. This is alarming to anyone who is not aware of it. Iused to take care of a little girl with this problem. Thank you for sharing -so important.