Absence seizure — also known as petit mal — involves a brief, sudden lapse of consciousness. Absence seizures are more common in children than adults. Someone having an absence seizure may look like he or she is staring into space for a few seconds.

Compared with other types of epileptic seizures, absence seizures appear mild. But they can be dangerous. Children with a history of absence seizure must be supervised carefully while swimming or bathing because of the danger of drowning. Teens and adults may be restricted from driving and other potentially hazardous activities.

Absence seizures usually can be controlled with anti-seizure medications. Some children who have absence seizures also have grand mal seizures. Many children outgrow absence seizures in their teen years.

Jun. 23, 2011