Absence Seizures


Absence seizures are most common in children from age 4 to 14. However, older teens and adults may also have absence seizures.

Some people have absence seizures for many months or years before it’s recognized as a problem. Causes of this delay may include:

  • It’s very common for people to mistake absence seizures for daydreaming or not paying attention.
  • Absence seizures are most likely to affect children, and paying attention is a common problem for children. Since daydreaming can happen often in school for many different reasons, it may be hard to know if the staring is a seizure or not.
  • Often the first clue that a child may be having absence seizures is when he or she starts having trouble in school.

When people have absence seizures, they are not aware of what is happening around them. For example, they will not notice if someone tries to speak to them during a seizure.

If a person is speaking when their seizure begins, they will stop talking, often in the middle of a sentence. It may seem like a pause to an observer.

If the absence seizure is very short, the person may not be aware they even had a seizure. If it is a bit longer, they may be aware that they have missed some time.

Authored By:

Elaine Kiriakopoulos MD, MSc
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN

on Monday, August 26, 2019

Reviewed By:

Elaine Wirrell MD
Joseph I. Sirven MD
Robert Fisher MD, PhD

on Friday, April 01, 2022


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