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Avatar universal

8 yr. old daughter with petit mal seizures

We were just informed yesterday that our 8 yr. old daughter has petit mal seizures.  We were referred to a neurologist, which we won't be able to contact before Monday and probably won't be able to see for another week.  We haven't been able to find a lot of information on these seizures.  So, we have some basic questions; exactly what are these seizures, what are the long term effects (i.e. other neurological disorders), do these seizures cause behavioral problems, are these seizures curable? I'm sure we have atleast 50 other questions, but these seem to be the most important at the moment.  We would appreciate any help and information that you can give us.
7 Responses
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Dear Ms. Thompson,

Pediatric neurology is not our area of specialty. So, rather than offer you our guidance on this issue, please click on the SEARCH function and, when prompted, type in Petit Mal Seizures and you will be given some articles and Q & A's that describe them.
Avatar universal
identical twins that were born with petimal seizures
we still have them they cause us not to be able to work they cause anxiety real; bad so watch out 4 that we have been told we will grow out of them
Avatar universal
I had petit mal seizures, diagnosed around 8-9. I'm now 27 and just fine. The seizures never caused me any real problems. Now that I am an adult and can say what I want, I'll tell you the truth about my experiences...

After about 9 months of these odd "episodes" around 8-9 years old, I was hooked up to an EEG and was finally diagnosed with petit mal epilepsy. I was put on Dilantin. I tell you, i hated it. As an over-achieving student, I remeber a marked difference in my cognitive skills. My grades never noticably slipped, but school was much harder after the Dilantin. I felt it was "dumbing me down". Turns out, it was. To control the seizures, medication has to control the firing of neurons in the brain b/c "overfiring" is the cause of seizures. Math classes I was excelling in, even been appointed "class helper" in, were suddenly VERY hard to grasp. So, without the knowledge of my parents or doctors...I stopped taking it. Dumped one down the toilet every morning for years. I even knew so much as to START taking it again about a week before one of my scheduled blood tests to check the Dilantin levels. I wasn't stupid. I'm not trying to give medical advice about your daughter, just sharing my personal experience.

I did continue to have occasional seizures, maybe once a month, or as often as once a week, until I was about 14. Unless the seizures are causing a real problem for your daughter, you may want to consider very hard WHO you tell about them or where to disclose the information. For instance, the basically honest child I was, when i took my driver's test, I felt I had to disclose that I had a "seizure disorder" on the paperwork. That paperwork doesn't discriminate what KIND of disorder, so I was saddled with the burden for 10 years of tracking down my pediatrician yearly to have her sign a "seizure waiver" to keep my license! Ridiculous. Know what it involved? "So, Brandi, have you had any seizures?"..."No"..."OK, here you go". She admitted later that I should have never checked that box on the license exam.

My seizures never were, and have never been, a cause for distress in my driving ability. But my state acted as if I was a mutant. I can say that twice in my life I have had a seizure while driving and it affected me none. Once, the passengers in my car weren't even aware anything had happened. Just food for thought in that arena.

I can only speak to what MY seizures were like. I still have them from time to time. Very rarely, however. And I generally don't tell loved ones when it happens b/c they still get very worried, no matter how much i tell them not to. Seizures can't possibly be understood by someone who has never had one. A petit mal can be likened to your brain taking a vacation somewhere else for a minute...although I have never had trouble continuing to function in whatever I was doing, even to the extend of continuing a conversation while having a seizure. I've had a handful of seizures in my life while talking to people, and they never even knew anything had happened. Only I did.

My seizures were preceded by an imaginary "smell". I could (still can) literally smell them coming. Even now, it's hard for me to remeber exactly what happens during a seizure. It's as if something is going on in my head that I cannot access during a "normal" state of mind. But I can tell you that everytime I have one it feels extremely familiar. It is a very bizarre sensory circus that only lasts for less than a minute. I am somewhat familiar with the previous twins' remark of anxiety. On the downswing of a seizure, i do periodically feel an extreme (but brief) rush of anxiety. Then it is gone. Here's the crazy part...sometimes the seizures were kinda "cool". I'm not kidding. After i learned not to be afraid of them, sometimes I actually enjoyed them. Almost like an extreme deja vu. Haven't you ever had a deja vu and thought, "well, that was neat"?

I'm not a doctor, only a patient that does too much personal research for her own good. I wouldn't be overly worried or make a big deal out of it, lest you might make your daughter feel she is defective somehow. All i can suggest is that you talk to your daughter as much as possibly to assess what is really happening in her head, and watch her behavoir during/after to assess if she is experienceing impaired function at all.

Some more food for thought...some of the greatest artists and thinkers of all time had petit mal seizures. Albert Einstein was a petit mal epileptic. I have also read many accounts that the petit mal seizure tends to affect those with very high IQs. Just think, it could be the by-product of a gift, not an affliction.

If there's anything else I can answer for you, I'd be glad to. Feel free to email me at ***@**** (I graduated school with a 4.0 and I opened my own ad agency at 22, so the seizures obviously didn't affect my personal development). I see your message is many months old, I'd love to hear just how you and your daughter are doing with this.

Avatar universal
This is not a attempt to help as I am not a medical doctor but another parent whose eleven month old son ( turning 1 year next week) is continously attcaked by what appears to be petit mal seizures. He starts by staring intensely, usually at something higher, raises his hands, and shakes unconsciously. The duration varies between 10 and thirty seconds. All soughts of tests have been done on him and the doctors cannot find anything. We are also talked it might simply disappear but as first time parents we are very worried because we think it might worsen. The baby's development in other areas is normal. When he ceases the spasms the boy resumes whatever he was doing as though nothing had happened. Please advise on the best way forward.
Avatar universal
My 4 1/2 year old son was just diagnosed with petit mal seizures and started on depakote, it has been almost 1 year since your message was posted; if you read this please email me at
***@****   I would love to chat with another mom about this!
Avatar universal
i would like to reply to the parents that have children with petit mal seizures. I know what your going threw! I have a 11 month old son, who just had his first seizure 2 days ago! But his started right after I had gave him a medication, called Ceftin. He was taking ceftin for a ear infection, and every time he had a dose(every 12 hours) he began to stare off into space and then loose conciousness! his whole body went limp, and his eyes were wide open, and then after 30 seconds or so he came back to! I have never been sooo scared in my life!!! The doctor thinks it was a alergic reaction to this medicine, but trufully were not really sure. I just wanted to share my story with you to let you know your not alone. I pray for each of you, and hope that everything else goes well! Thank you Carole (***@****)
Avatar universal
i would like to reply to the parents that have children with petit mal seizures. I know what your going threw! I have a 11 month old son, who just had his first seizure 2 days ago! But his started right after I had gave him a medication, called Ceftin. He was taking ceftin for a ear infection, and every time he had a dose(every 12 hours) he began to stare off into space and then loose conciousness! his whole body went limp, and his eyes were wide open, and then after 30 seconds or so he came back to! I have never been sooo scared in my life!!! The doctor thinks it was a alergic reaction to this medicine, but trufully were not really sure. I just wanted to share my story with you to let you know your not alone. I pray for each of you, and hope that everything else goes well! Thank you Carole (***@****)
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