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HomeAnswersNeurologyticHow to differentiate a tic disorder from an absence seizure?

My daughter is over-energetic and has spontaneous blank stares with stiff arms. Please help.

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

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Published At June 27, 2021
Reviewed AtJune 27, 2021

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

My daughter is sometimes over-energetic and suddenly stares randomly with slight stiffness of the arms for maybe two to three seconds. It happens few times a day. We consulted a neurologist, but nothing was found to be abnormal. Doctors ruled it out as a slight tic disorder. However, I have continued to see these blank stares from my child spontaneously throughout the day. Could this be an absence seizure?

Answered by Dr. Aida Abaz Quka

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I saw the pictures that you have uploaded (attachments removed to protect the patient's identity), and by the images, we cannot determine if the blank stare is a tic or absence seizures. In fact, in children, it is challenging to distinguish this clinical situation. But, I would recommend performing an EEG (electroencephalogram), which can help determine if it is an absence seizure or just a tic (which shows nothing in EEG). I hope you will find this answer helpful. I remain at your disposal for any further questions whenever you need me.

Kind regards.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thanks for the reply.

Would either of these conditions be an immediate danger? An appointment with an in-office neurologist would take a few weeks. I am not sure how worried I should be. Please help.

Answered by Dr. Aida Abaz Quka

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Both absence seizures and tic are chronic disorders, not life-threatening, and you may wait until consulting a pediatrician or neuropediatrician. Both these disorders are treatable. I would also recommend checking thyroid hormone levels and vitamin D plasma levels for possible deficiency. I hope you will find this answer helpful. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask me again.

I wish you all the best.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Aida Abaz Quka
Dr. Aida Abaz Quka

Neurology

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