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 cumulative incidence of epilepsy (chance of acquiring epilepsy at some time during life) is 2 to 4%. The chance of having at least one seizure, during a life- time is approximately 8%. If one includes epilepsy, single seizures, acute symptomatic seizures and febrile seizures, the cumulative incidence is close to 10% by the age of 80.