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How Do Seizures Cause Memory Loss?

Epilepsy is a condition known for sudden periods of synchronous, excessive, or abnormal neuronal activity in the brain or seizures. Experts say that 1 out of 26 individuals will develop this condition at some point.

Even though some people have mild seizures will experience a muscle twitch and a small loss of awareness. People who have severe seizures might lose control of their limbs and get injured from falling.

People who suffer from this condition also experience memory-related issues. Some even experience retrograde amnesia, where they can’t remember what happened before the seizure.

It’s important to immediately opt for the right absence seizure treatment for such conditions. Doing so will help in preventing the seizures from occurring again. 

Why Exactly Do Seizures Lead to Memory Loss?

Several factors can cause seizures. It can range from autoimmune conditions and infections to genetic mutations and abnormalities in the brain structure. On certain occasions, the actual cause of the seizure is unknown.

The most common type of seizure is the one that occurs in the brain area right behind the ear, the temporal lobe. People who suffer from temporal lobe epilepsy will experience retrograde amnesia. They will also not recall the events instantly before the seizure.

This is because the seizures affect the hippocampus region, which is located in the temporal lobe. It’s an important area for memory processing and storage. When a person sleeps, the hippocampus transmits all the new information they learned during the day to a different brain section.

This section is called the “cerebral cortex.” Here, all the new memories get consolidated. The process occurs through the brain pathways, which link the cortex to the hippocampus. 

Can Absence Seizures Cause Memory Loss?

Absence seizures are known for their sudden and brief lapses of consciousness, which are much more common in children than adults. When a person has an absence seizure, it will appear like they are staring blankly at something for several seconds.

After some time, they will quickly return to their normal state. These types of seizures don’t cause any severe injury. The absence of seizures can be easily controlled through anti-seizure medications.

Children develop several other kinds of seizures, and many even outgrow the absence of seizures during their teen years.

The Symptoms of Absence Seizures

An expressionless stare is the most common symptom of absence seizure. It might be mistaken for a space in attention that lasts only 10 seconds.

This can also last 20 seconds without drowsiness, headaches, or confusion afterward. Besides that, here are some of the other symptoms of this particular seizure:

  • Small movements of both hands
  • Sudden stop in a movement without failing
  • Finger rubbing
  • Eyelid flutters
  • Lip smacking
  • Chewing motions.

After the person returns to their normal state, they do not have any memory of the situation. Many regularly have several episodes that interfere with their daily activities or school. Children might have absence seizures for a brief time right before an adult get to witness the seizures.

A decline in a child’s learning power might be the first symptom of this condition. Teachers will point out that the child is not paying attention in class or daydreaming.

The Treatment for Absence Seizures

In the absence seizures treatment, the physician will begin with a small dose of the anti-seizure medication. After that, they will increase the dose to control the absence of seizures properly.

Children might be able to taper off these medications under the doctor’s supervision when they have been seizure-free for 2 years. Apart from that, let’s check the drugs that the doctor prescribes:

  • Zarontin [Ethosuximide]: This medication is recommended by many physicians for the absence of seizures. In the majority of cases, the seizures respond perfectly to this medication. The side effects of this medicine are hyperactivity, trouble sleeping, sleepiness, vomiting, and nausea.
  • Depakene [Valproic Acid]:Girls who constantly need medication right into adulthood must discuss all the possible risks of valproic acid with the physician. This medication is associated with the risks of congenital disabilities in babies. Physicians have advised women against using Valproic acid when trying to conceive or during pregnancy. Doctors will suggest using this medication in children with both grand mal and absence seizures.
  • Lamictal [Lamotrigine]: Many studies have proved that this medication is not as effective as Valproic Acid or Ethosuximide. But it does have fewer side effects. Some of the side effects are nausea and rash.

Wrapping Up

The information in this post provides helpful insight into the absence of seizures, why they occur, and the treatment options available. If you or someone you know experiences it, you should take them to a good physician for treatment.

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