A breath holding spell is an involuntary pause in breathing, sometimes accompanied by loss of consciousness. It usually occurs in response to an upsetting or surprising situation.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Breath holding is seen in some normal children from as early as age 2 months, but it can start as late as 2 years old. A small number of children have severe spells. Usually the spells stop by the time a child reaches ages 6 - 8.
Breath holding spells appear to be a response to fear, confrontation, a
Although they often occur with tantrums, breath holding spells are not thought to be a willful act of defiance.
Breath holding spells can run in families. If a child's parents had similar spells in childhood, the child may be more likely to have spells. They also can occur with genetic conditions, such as