How are absence seizures diagnosed in adults?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: David Y Ko, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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A diagnosis of new-onset absence seizures in adulthood is not likely in the vast majority of cases. (Adults often have complex focal seizures with relatively minor automatisms.) Confusion arises when patients and some healthcare providers incorrectly use the term “absence seizure” (or “petit mal seizure”) and “petit mal/absence seizure” to describe a seizure that is not “grand mal.”

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