Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Absence Seizures
An absence seizure is a brief—5 to 15 seconds—but total loss of
awareness that occurs suddenly without any warning and ends as suddenly as it
begins. Absence seizures are most common in childhood and occur in people with
generalized epilepsy of unknown cause.
The face muscles may twitch during the seizure. Although the person
may appear to be awake, he or she cannot respond to anything or anyone. When
the seizure stops, the person may resume normal activity without knowing that
An absence seizure can sometimes be brought on by deep and rapid
breathing (hyperventilation). During these few seconds of altered awareness,
The person may have dozens or even hundreds of absence seizures
Current as of:
February 20, 2015
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.