Blank stare – meaning, causes and symptoms

    • Brief

    • A blank stare is a fixed gaze in space with no specific focus. It is a medical term with a significant symptom of a type of seizure, called absence seizure.
      People with absence seizures have brief episodes of staring with a lack of awareness of their surroundings. People with absence seizures suddenly blank out for a few seconds then resume their previous activity. The absence usually lasts a few seconds and no more than 30 seconds.

    • What are the causes?

    • What causes a person to blank stare?

      Absence seizures often cause blank stares. Other conditions likely to cause this symptom may include:

      • Mood disorders like depression, apathy, and confusion.
      • Mild heart attacks.

      Blank stares are usually accompanied by:

      • A sudden stop in motion for no reason.
      • A sudden return to activity as if time hasn’t passed at all.
      • Head falling forward.
      • Repeated lip-smacking or rubbing of hands together.

      It usually requires someone else to notice because the blank stare seizures are very brief and leave you with no memory of it. Several can occur in a day.

    • When to visit a doctor?

    • Visit your healthcare provider as soon as you or someone else notices that you suffer from this symptom. If ignored, it can lead to a lack of concentration, confusion and difficulty coping in school or the workplace.

    • How to prevent?

    • You cannot prevent an absence seizure, but you can reduce its severity and frequency with treatment. Early diagnosis, especially in children, can prevent problems with development. You can also reduce your risk of seizures by eating a healthy diet, drinking enough clean water and by exercising regularly.

    • How to manage and treat?

    • Self-care tips:
      The following are things you can do if you are living with an absence seizure:

      • You should ensure you sleep well and regularly.
      • Find ways to avoid stress and manage it.
      • Eat healthy meals and exercise regularly. A ketogenic diet, with foods high in fats and low in carbs, can contribute to improved seizure control.
      • Avoid alcohol and other intoxicating substances, such as recreational drugs.
      • Do not drive or operate any heavy machinery without clearance from your healthcare provider.
      • Do not follow unproven practices, like drinking cow urine, inserting objects in the mouth of unconscious people, or self-harm. These practices are harmful to you.

      Treatment options:

      • Your healthcare provider will decide what type of treatment is suitable for you after doing appropriate tests such as imaging the brain and checking for abnormal brain activity.
      • They may put you on long-term anti-seizure drugs, like ethosuximide and valproate.
      • Taking these medicines as prescribed by your healthcare provider is essential to improve your condition. There are smartphone apps that can help you with medicine adherence.
    • Kulawa cares

    • It is essential to be vigilant, especially with children, because absence seizures can significantly affect their development. The brief attacks occurring multiple times a day can cause frustration and cause them to lag behind their mates in class. School teachers should be briefed about the child's specific needs and how to provide support when required.

      Family members can provide the support you need at home, share information about the condition with them and your needs. They can also offer driving you to places. At work, you will need the support of colleagues and co-workers to operate equipment or machinery if required.