Typically, this type of seizure lasts between 10 and 30 seconds. The person, most often a child aged 5 to 15, abruptly stops whatever he's doing (talking, walking) and appears to "stare into space." Absence seizures rarely cause a true convulsion in which the person falls down or collapses. Despite briefly losing consciousness, the person recovers fully with no lingering confusion or other ill effects
The morbidity from typical absence seizures is related to the frequency and duration of the seizures, as well as to the patient's activities; effective treatment ameliorates these factors. Educational and behavioral problems are sequelae of frequent, unrecognized seizures. No deaths result directly from absence seizures. However, if an individual suffers an absence seizure while driving or operating dangerous machinery, a fatal accident may occur.