Petit Mal (Absence) Seizures

Petit Mal Seizure is a highly discomforting condition. Read on to know all about this disease including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.

What are Petit Mal Seizures?

These are generalized seizures that do not include convulsions. This type of seizures last for only a brief period of less than fifteen seconds. The condition results from an unusual electrical activity of the brain that results in abnormal brain functioning. The condition is commonly known as “Absence Seizure”.

Petit Mal Seizures Causes

Electrical impulses are generated in the brain cells during all times in the life of a person, whether in sleeping or waking up. Petit Mal Seizures occur when there is lack of synchronization in the electrical discharges produced in the brain. In case of Petit Mal Seizures brain activity imbalance usually arises as a result of other conditions like

  • Toxic Substances
  • Birth Defects
  • Previous brain trauma
  • Metabolic disturbances
  • Brain tumor
  • Infection
  • Vascular System Problems
  • Low levels of calcium, magnesium and sodium
  • Liver of kidney ailments
  • Hyperventilation due to anxiety, severe trauma or stress

Heredity and congenital defects in the brain may also give rise to this condition. In isolated cases of this kind of seizures in young adults and adolescents, alcohol abuse or use of sedatives like Benzodiazepimes have been found as trigger factors.

Petit Mal Seizures Symptoms

Some of the main symptoms of Petit Mal Seizures are:

Changes in muscular activity

The condition typically leads to alterations in muscle activity that is visible from the outside as fumbling of hands, chewing, lip smacking and fluttering of the eyelids. In some cases, there may be no muscle movement at all.

Changes in level of alertness

Affected persons may be completely unaware of their surroundings. They may stare with a blank expression for a brief period. They may suddenly stop while talking, walking or any other conscious activities for a few seconds and then resume again. In some cases, change in consciousness level may also be triggered by flashing lights or hyperventilation.

Learning difficulties

In case of Petit Mal Seizures in children there may be learning difficulty issues in school. This is one of the first symptoms of Petit Mal Seizures in kids. Teachers may mistake this condition for lack of attention or forgetfulness.

Usually a person has problems in thinking clearly after seizure. They may be wide awake but unaware of their seizure.

Petit Mal Seizures Diagnosis

Diagnosing Petit Mal Seizures usually begins with doctors asking patients about the symptoms. The medical history of the sufferer and his or her lifestyle and profession is also taken into account. If doctors suspect toxic substances or chemical imbalance, patients may be asked to undergo a few blood tests.

In some cases, an Electroencephalography (EEG) may be conducted to determine the electrical activity inside the brain. Electrodes are attached to the scalp to take a reading. An artificial seizure is then created by use of flash lights or hyperventilation on the patient. If the patient suffers from a seizure due to this, EEG machine may be able to measure the electrical activity in the brain due to the attack. CT scans or MRI scans may also be performed in some cases.

Petit Mal Seizures Treatment

The treatment of Petit Mal Seizures involves use of anticonvulsant medicines. Anti-seizure drugs are the first medications for this condition. Over-the-counter anti-seizure medicines should always be taken after getting a nod from a professional healthcare provider. Some common anti-seizure medications include drugs like Zarontin and Depakane.

Some of the common Petit Mal Seizures medications are

  • Clonazepam
  • Rhoxal-Clonazepam
  • Novo-Clonazepam
  • Med-Klonazepam
  • Apo-Clonazepam
  • Apo-Divalproic
  • Valproic Acid
  • Alti-Clonazepam
  • Medium Chain Triglycerides

Atypical seizures of this type begin gradually but last for a longer period than other seizures.

Petit Mal Seizures Age Group

The condition mostly occurs in people who are under 20 years of age. It is usually seen in children who are between 6 and 12 years in age. Petit Mal Seizures may arise individually or with other kinds of seizures such as

  • Abrupt loss of muscular strength (Atonic Seizures)
  • Jerks or Twitching sensations (Myoclonus)
  • Inferred tonic-clonic seizures (Grand Mal Seizures)

Petit Mal Seizures Duration

The condition may arise only once or twice a day or for many times. They generally arise for weeks and months before they are actually taken seriously. These are evident as brief spells of activity cessation. They last only for a few seconds.

Petit Mal Seizures Risks

The condition may be a sign of other serious disorders, such as

Myoclonic Epilepsy

The disease can be triggered by bright or reflected sunlight, strobe lights and flickering lights. This may develop during later stages of childhood or early stages of adolescence.

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

This is a very severe case of epilepsy that may lead to the damage of the brain of the suffering person.

Petit Mal Seizures Prognosis

In approximately 70 percent cases, absence seizure has been found to stop before the child attains 18 years of age. Persisting cases of this seizure are generally a result of some underlying condition. In 80 to 90 percent cases, this type of seizure can be controlled with prescription drugs.

Petit Mal Seizures Management

The condition can be temporary managed with the aid of anti-seizure medications like Depakane and Zarontin. Seizures may stop for some time after taking these drugs. You can use these medicines only after your doctor assures you about the effects of the drugs. Do not use them if you have ever had any prior instance of discomforts after using them.

Keep away from areas that use flashing lights. You should stay away from flashy video games and also prevent your child from playing them if they suffer from seizures after a gaming session.

With effective treatment, management and supportive care Petit Mal Seizures can be avoided and even be cured completely. If you are suffering from Petit Mal Seizures or your kid is having it, do not delay treatment. Early cure will ensure early relief from this discomforting condition.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.