Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Absence Seizure

  • Kenneth R. PerrineEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1038


Petit mal seizure; Psychomotor seizures


An absence (usually pronounced with a French accent as “ab-SAWNS”) seizure is a type of generalized seizure caused by a large burst of electrical discharges that begins in broad, bilaterally distributed networks simultaneously as opposed to a complex partial seizure (focal seizure with altered awareness/responsiveness).1During an absence seizure, the patient will lose interaction with the environment, stare blankly (“zone out”), and perhaps blink the eyes (eyelid myoclonia) or have sudden jerks (myoclonic absence). There is no true loss of consciousness or motor functions. The seizure is typically short in duration (only several seconds), and patients often resume their ongoing activity without realizing even that they had a seizure (but will be amnestic for anything occurring during the episode). There are no postictal problems after the end of the seizure. Although no first aid is required, the patient should be protected...

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References and Readings

  1. Berg, A. T., Berkovic, S. F., Brodie, M. J., Buchhalter, J., Cross, J. H., van Emde, B. W., Engel, J., French, J., Glauser, T. A., Mathern, G. W., Moshe, S. L., Nordli, D., Plouin, P., & Scheffer, I. E. (2010). Revised terminology and concepts for organization of seizures and epilepsies: Report of the ILAE Commission on Classification and Terminology, 2005–2009. Epilepsia, 51(4), 676–685.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Wyllie, E. (Ed.). (2015). Wyllie’s treatment of epilepsy: Principles and practice (6th ed.). New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurological SurgeryWeill Cornell MedicineNew YorkUSA